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Full text of "The Bucklyn Shaig : a tale of the last century"

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THE BICKLYN SHAIG. 



% Mt of thj fast Crnture, 



BY THE 

HON. MKS. ALFKED MONTGOMERY 

AUTHOR OF " ASHTOX HALL," POEMS, ETC. 



Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord." 

DeiU. xxxii. 35 ; Romans xii. 19 ; Hebreus x. 30. 



IN TWO VOLUMES.— VOL. II. 




LONDON: 

RICHARD BENTLEY, 8, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, 
^Subltsfjer in ©rtinarg to f^cr fEajrstg. 

1865. 



[The right of Translation is reserved.'] 



LONDON : FKINTKD BT WILIJAM CLOWES ANU SONS, STAMJOKD fTREET 
AND CHAEING CROSS. 



S23 
v-Z, 



CONTENTS, 



CHAPTER I. 



PAGh 



THE VILLA NEGRONI 1 

CHAPTER II. 

OLD FAITH REVIVED 24 

CHAPTER III. 

FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE 71 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART llo 

.CHAPTER V. 

DULL LIFE l(ii> 

CHAPTER VI. 

UNDER THE LIME TREES 204 

CHAPTER VII. 

"VENGEANCE IS MINE; I WILL REPAY. SAITH IHK 

LORD" 24r' 



THE BUCKLYN SHAIG 



CHAPTER I. 

THE VILLA NEGRONI. 

A SHORT time before the incident we have 
just described at Raymond Castle, a very 
different scene was being enacted in one of 
the large apartments of the Villa Negroni, 
in Rome. It was in a lofty room, with a 
carved and painted ceiling, and walls hung 
in panels of green damask, each panel con- 
taining some masterpiece of art. There were 
four windows with seats in the embrasures, 
the walls being at least four feet in thick- 
ness. 

Two of the windows looked towards 

VOL. II. B 



2 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

the Albano hills, over the wide campagna, 
intersected with the ruined arches of the 
ancient aqueducts; and in the foreground 
marked by tall cypresses, some standing in 
dark groups, some in long lines of avenue 
near the house. The other windows looked 
over the garden,: narrow, formal walks, 
small enclosures of box, with a rippling 
fountain in the centre; hedges of China roses, 
more covered with blossom than leaves, 
and clusters of pomegranates in full flower. 

It was early in the month of June. The 
heat was oppressive, and Rome was empty 
of all its wealthier inhabitants, who had 
gone to their villas among the mountains. 

Lord Clifford had been very anxious to 
remove his wife at the end of April into 
cooler regions. But her entreaties to 
remain where she was, had become so 
urgent that, on the whole, it was thought 
wiser to agree to her wishes than to run 
the risk of thwarting her in her then weak 
and precarious state. The great size of 
the rooms, and the fact that the villa stands 



THE VILLA NEGRONI. 6 

surrounded by gardens, and quite removed 
from the streets, made it as cool a residence 
as any to be found actually in Rome. 

The malady of which Angela was dying 
seems generally to awaken in the sufferers 
an intense longing to go home to die ; 
and to Angela this was home. In health 
she had called England home, and the land 
of her adoption. But as the insidious dis- 
ease tightened its hold upon her frail form, 
England faded away out of her mind, like 
the putting off something that had never 
really formed a part of herself, and the 
innate love of Rome, the scenes and associa- 
tions she was born to, came back with a 
double force — the force of old love in- 
creased by the dread of losing it. When- 
ever Lord Clifford had suggested that she 
should be moved to Frascati or Albano, she 
had pleaded so plaintively to remain where 
she was that the question had to be dropped 
at once. 

The red spot of carmine would come 
again into those sunken cheeks, and the 



4 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

deep eyes glisten with unnatural eagerness, 
as she would lay her thin hand on her hus- 
band's arm, and say : 

" Leave me here, dear George, leave me 
here in peace. I like to lie and listen to 
those convent bells that I have known 
since my birth; I like to look on those 
gaunt cypresses, and fancy they are the 
sentinels of death waiting for me, and keep- 
ing guard over this house, that their doomed 
prisoner may not escape. When I lie 
awake at night, I can see their dark forms 
standing so motionless in the moonlight, 
and casting on the ground shadows even 
darker than themselves ; and I talk to them 
as if they were living things and could 
hear me. I bid them wait for my coming 
a little longer, and not dream that I wish 
to linger. And I like to fancy how, when 
I am gone, the birds will still sing God's 
praises within the close shelter of their 
impenetrable gloom, and the light of the 
moon catch the sharp edges of their scale- 
like branches, and leave a silver fringe 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 

there. All that is beautiful and holy will 
go on flowing through the wide fields of 
time into the deep ocean of eternity, just 
as I have watched them doing during my 
brief happy life with you, my dear hus- 
band. 

"How beautiful is the succession of 
God's mercies, and the perennial flow of his 
gifts. One poor grain of wheat drops into 
the earth, as I shall soon be doing ; ' Sown 
in corruption, raised in incorruption.' But 
you are left to shelter Eose ; and when 
you join me, Rose will have, I trust, an- 
other protector ; and finally, one by one, 
we shall fall into the bosom of eternity, 
and be all reunited in the light of God's 
glory. 

" Nay, dear George, do not weep. It is 
not sad to me, it is calm and hopeful. 
The separation from earth, and from all my 
dear human ties, has come so gradually 
that day by day my will has seemed to 
sink deeper into the will of God ; and 
though I dare not be impatient to go, yet 



6 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

I long for the hour" when my anointed 
feet shall step across the narrow line . that 
divides the life of this world from the life 
of the next, and my anointed eyes look up 
and see the face of my Redeemer." 

It often seemed to Lord Clifford, as he 
sat beside his wife's couch through the long 
quiet hours of her restless, sleepless nights, 
that he had never really known her till 
then. The approach of death had opened 
the hidden shrines of her mind, and with a 
freedom hitherto unknown to herself, she 
poured forth rich treasures of thought and 
imagination, all brought into such exqui- 
site harmony by the intensity of her piety, 
that he was amazed at the manifold wealth 
of heart and intellect which he had uncon- 
sciously possessed in the wife so soon to be 
taken from him. He was constantly re- 
gretting that though he had always thought 
Angela perfect, and had deeply loved her, 
he had . not long ago enjoyed the same 
amount of interchange of thought which 
he was now experiencing. He began to 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 7 

think he had never sufficiently appreciated 
her, and would have given anything to 
have learnt early in life all that Angela 
might have bestowed upon him. 

The thought was natural, and inevitable 
under the circumstances, but could he have 
put it in practice it would not have an- 
swered. 

There are very few people who are 
able to live a daily life in the society of an 
heroic nature. Angela herself would have 
wasted her inner self had she, before the 
approaching end, given out as much of 
her heart as she now found herself doing. 
And certainly Lord Clifford, whose ami- 
able disposition did not raise him to great 
heights, would have found the full expan- 
sion of his wife's intellect too much for him 
as daily bread ; it would have puzzled him, 
perhaps wearied him. Sweetness, a fond 
nature, an orderly, well-regulated demean- 
our, and talents enough to please but not 
to dazzle, was all that Lord Clifford really 
wanted in his helpmate. 



8 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

Possibly Angela herself had felt this, 
though it is doubtful if she reasoned about it. 
Anyhow, her womanly instinct guided her 
to give just what he wanted, and as much as 
he wanted, and to keep the rest hidden in her 
heart, though often perceived and always 
more than suspected by her intimate friends. 
But now, like the setting sun, she robed 
herself in glory. The inner beauty of her 
high-toned soul shone forth in variety and 
splendour. The secrets of a long habit of 
pious practices, and of well-ordered devo- 
tion, spontaneously revealed themselves; 
and the perfume of intense humility per- 
vaded every action and every word so 
fully, that while she betrayed the genius 
of a superior mind, she also showed the 
docility and lowliness of a little child. 
" Will the prince come to-day, George ?" 
"He will, my dearest, if I send to 
Frascati for him. He said he would come 
at any moment; I have only to let him 
know when you wish to see him. But as 
he was here only the evening before last, he 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 9 

is hardly likely to return so soon, without a 
summons." 

Angela lay a few moments without reply- 
ing, her eyes fixed on the blue sky and 
her lips moving as if in prayer. Then turn- 
ing a smiling face to her husband, she said : 

" Yes, George, let him be sent for, and 
beg him to bring me the last sacraments." 

Lord Clifford turned pale, but controlling 
himself, he asked if she felt worse ? 

" No ; I feel better, and I would gladly 
see him while I am able fully to understand 
and follow the words of Extreme Unction. 
Do not be distressed^ my beloved. But I 
know the end is very near. You perceive 
that I have lost my cough, and I know 
that fact foretells the end ; besides, I have 
a conviction it will soon be over now, 
and I want to be on the safe side, so send 
directly for Cardinal York." 

Lord Clifford kissed her, and left the 
room to do her bidding with a heavy heart. 

The faithful adherents of a fallen cause 
have seldom had a more worthy object on 



10 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

which to lavish their unfruitful loyalty than 
in the person of Henry Stuart, Cardinal 
York. The heir-presumptive to a throne 
obscured to the eyes of the world in the 
character of a priest ; and a prince of the 
royal blood hidden, at the early age of 
twenty-three in the scarlet robes of the 
cardinalate instead of donning those of 
royalty, were all additional claims for 
romantic devotion. The great misfortunes 
of his family had required a doubly pathetic 
tenderness from this touching homage paid 
by the sovereign pontiff to fallen grandeur, 
in the person of Henry Stuart. And the 
character of the recipient was in harmony 
with the gift. In very early youth he had 
been remarkable for a lively disposition and 
sprightly wit, such as might easily have led 
him into the faults of dissipation so in* 
jurious to their cause, manifested by the 
elder members of the family, and so deeply 
lamented by their adherents. But a voca- 
tion to the priesthood had soon laid the 
fetters of piety upon the waywardness of the 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 11 

youth ; and, ever after, Cardinal York was 
more beloved as Bishop of Frascati than he 
could have been as heir to a throne. 

The Eomans are, of all people, those 
most likely to appreciate the beauty of high 
rank, combined with self-sacrifice and per- 
sonal charity to the poor. Accustomed to 
hold their own princely families in the 
highest veneration, and to see dignitaries 
of the church surrounded with a greater 
amount of etiquette than is met with else- 
where, the prestige imparted by the noble 
or the wealthy, undertaking in their own 
persons the relief of the poor and the 
ministrations of religion, has a more telling 
effect than in countries where liberalism has 
brought all ranks more down to one level. 
Henry Stuart had known poverty and priva- 
tion, actual and not only comparative. At 
different periods in his long and retired life 
he had had to part with his plate, books, 
and valuables, to be able to exist. And 
finally, was so utterly reduced in circum- 
stances, that seven vears before his death. 



12 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

at the advanced age of eighty-two, he 
had gratefully accepted a pension from 
George III., which had been offered him in 
a way that does honour to the House of 
Hanover. But though this was the real 
state of the case, and in the hard school of 
adversity Henry Stuart had learned the 
full value of money, and the minute details 
of life's necessary requirements, yet so 
deeply and poetically impressed by the 
greatness of his birthright were the worthy 
people of his diocese, that to this day they 
recount anecdotes of the royal bishop's 
extreme ignorance of what want could 
be; and of his generous and overflowing 
liberality when once the idea of hunger 
and misery as existing amongst his flock 
penetrated his august mind. 

To this hour there are legends at Frascati 
of the prince priest's ignorance and kindness. 
One day when leaving in his painted and 
gilded coach his episcojDal palace on his 
way to Eome, and being then (as who has 
not been ever since !) beset by beggars, he 



THE VILLA NEGRONI. 13 

turned to his secretary and asked, " "Why 
do these people molest me, they have meat 
and wine, what more do they want ?" 

"Yes, your excellency," was the reply; 
" but they have no bread." 

"No bread!" exclaimed the cardinal, 
turning pale ; and forthwith from each 
hand, out of each window, was flung 
promiscuously among the crowd all the 
money his Eminence happened to be taking 
to Rome with him. 

There is more of poetry than probability 
in these anecdotes ; but like all other legends 
and songs of the people, they portray the 
popular feeling. 

To the Clifford family the presence of the 
younger scion of the royal house in whose 
cause their recent ancestors had spilled their 
best blood, and their present descendants 
lavished their best gold, was productive of 
feeKngs which in our prosaic and unsacri- 
ficing loyalty, we can hardly realize. More- 
over, the Cardinal York was one greatly to 
be beloved on his own account. He pos- 



14 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

sessed the characteristic beauty of his family : 
large, full hazel eyes, with that peculiar ex- 
pression of swimming in sweetness, which 
imparted something almost womanly to the 
beauty of the countenance. A pale, bland 
forehead, and an oval face ; the mouth 
rather large, but divested of all the coarse- 
ness that marked some of the previous 
generation of Stuarts ; and a tall, remarkably 
graceful figure, with high-bred hands and 
supple limbs that told of race. Add to 
these personal characteristics a voice of 
mellow sweetness and a charm of manner, 
a simplicity and a depth of tender piety 
belonging to him in his office of priest, and 
it is easy to understand the touching conso- 
lation it was to Lord Clifford to see this 
royal object of all his reverence and affec- 
tion attending upon the spiritual wants ot 
his dying wife. 

After Angela was satisfied that the car- 
dinal was sent for, she desired to speak with 
Rose, and to be left alone with her. Lord 
Clifford had latterly been anxious to keep 



THE VILLA NEGRONI. 15 

his daughter a good deal away from the 
sick room. He entertained the opinion 
prevalent in those days, that consump- 
tion was catching ; and harrowed as his 
feelings were at seeing Angela gradually 
sinking under the fatal malady, the bare idea 
of his darling child incurring any risk was 
more than he had courage to face ; and conse- 
quently Eose had much to suffer by being 
constantly dissuaded from attending on her 
mother, which Angela had acquiesced in, as 
in all else that was prescribed for her, with 
a sad smile of resignation. Rose was, there- 
fore, doubly impressed by her mother's send- 
ing for her at the same time as she sent for her 
confessor, and the impression was heightened 
when her gaze fell on her mother's face. 
Long did they look into each other's eyes, 
the daughter kneeling by her mother's side, 
and the mother softly stroking the rich 
clusters of her golden hair as she bent her 
head to conceal the tears. 

Last words of love, last injunctions ol 
duty never to be forgotten, filled up that 



16 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

solemn interview : nor did it close without 
Angela's sending through Rose a message 
of affection to Teresa, such as she might 
have sent to an absent daughter of her own. 

Teresa's absence was still a bleeding 
wound in the heart of Angela. But it was 
one she could not speak of openly to Lord 
Clifford, nor even to Rose. Madame de 
Bray was the only confidant of those words 
of intense affection with which the dying 
woman spoke of Teresa. Not one was for- 
gotten, and all were faithfully carried to 
her for whom they were intended. 

The Orsinis had been in Rome up to the 
beginning of May ; then they had been 
compelled to return to Florence. But as 
up to that time Angela had rallied so fre- 
quently and so wonderfully, astonishing 
even the medical men by her marvellous 
vitality, the princess had shared Lord Clif- 
ford's hopes that Angela might be moved 
to Florence later on in the spring. And 
so, owing to her betraying little change 
from day to day, and those changes fre- 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 17 

quently appearing to be rather favourable 
than otherwise, no one save the sufferer 
herself had yet realized the fact that the end 
was really close at hand. After speaking 
separately to Rose and Madame de Bray, 
Angela seemed to enter at once on the 
solemn, conscious, orderly preparation for 
death. The cardinal could not arrive until 
late in the day. The intervening hours 
were spent in prayer. As the day grew 
cooler, she had begged to have the shutters 
opened, and all the air and light admitted 
into the room that was possible. 

" Let in all the light you can, dear 
George : you know I pine for Hght. Let 
me see the red gleam of the setting sun. 
Ah, it seems to expand my very heart as it 
falls upon me. But brighter light is coming, 
dear George — and coming soon, God be 
praised 1 Now, read me the prayer for the 
dying. His eminence will soon be here, and 
then I shall care no more to look on the 
material light of this world." 

While the poor broken-hearted husband 

VOL. II. c 



18 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

was keeling and praying as she desired, 
Angela seemed to fall into a tranquil sleep. 
Lord Clifford paused to listen to the sound 
of opening doors and approaching footsteps. 
The cardinal had come, and Lord Clifford 
went to the outer antechamber to receive 
him, and knelt to kiss his hand. Eaising 
him from the ground the cardinal clasped 
him in his arms, while the tears stood in his 
eyes, and in a voice broken by emotion he 
spoke to him of courage and of peace. 
The cardinal had gone to the Vatican on 
entering Rome to obtain from the Holy 
Father his last blessing for the dying woman. 
Arranerements had been made for the car- 
dinal, after his interview with Angela, to 
administer the Sacraments himself, and to 
have them brought from the neighbouring 
parish church. 

And so the last rites were performed as 
day faded into night : the soul annealed for 
its transit into life ; the wasted body 
anointed for its rest in the grave. Angela 
had followed every word, and made the 



THE VILLA NEGRONI. 19 

responses in her own sweet voice, which to 
to the last had lost none of its tone and 
richness. When all was over she lay quite 
still, and then seemed for a while to 
be unconscious of all around. Once she 
called : 

" Teresa, Teresa ! Have they sent for 
Teresa ? No ; God's will be done. George, 
dear George, bury me by Mildred. Don't 
carry me out of Italy. My own lake of 
Bracciano." 

Then she lay quite still, while the car- 
dinal continued to pray for her. The vari- 
ous members of the family were grouped 
around her couch, her husband kneeling 
held her hand. From time to time she 
murmured the Sacred Name. And then — 
was it pallor that spread over her beautiful 
features ? or was it light from heaven fall- 
ing on her face ? 

Cardinal York raised his hand and pro- 
nounced the last absolution. As he ceased 
to speak she slightly bowed her head. 
The lids half-veiled the darkening eyes. 



20 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and with a scarcely audible sigh the spirit 
took its flight. 

Terrible, indeed, is the unseemly haste 
with which in those southern climes the 
beloved dead are hurried from our sight. 
And the necessity, if necessity it be, im- 
parts a hastiness in the performance of the 
last duties to the sacred remains which is 
hardly decorous, and which, probably, 
accounts for the diminished reverence, not 
for the souls of the departed, of course, 
in Catholic countries, but for the poor 
casket. As usual, no time was lost, and the 
cruel and heart-rending preparations com- 
menced as soon as the breath was gone, and 
went on through the night. 

By daybreak all was finished. The coffin- 
lid was closed over that beloved form ; the 
room hung with black ; the huge yellow 
tapers lighted, and the doors flung open for 
the long succession of friends, priests, and 
strangers, to pass by the pomp of death, 
and breathe a prayer for the departed. 

The cardinal had refused to return home. 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 21 

and spent the night in affectionately con- 
soHng the bereaved husband and the weep- 
ing girl. 

The next day but one the funeral was to 
take place, and according to the custom of 
Italy, to us so repugnant, the relatives 
were not to attend. 

The cardinal had offered his palace at 
Frascati to Lord Clifford and his daughter, 
intending himself to go to Venice. The 
offer was accepted, and the following morn- 
ing the whole family quitted the Yilla Ne- 
groni, leaving its dead inmate in the hands 
of religious, and two men servants who 
when all was once over, were to rejoin their 
master at Frascati. 

A stagnant grief settled upon Lord Clif- 
ford, when he grew to realize his dreadful 
loss. He became silent and unobservant, 
tenderly affectionate to Rose, and liking 
always to have her near him ; but quite in- 
capable of making any effort to cheer her ; 
and thus, unconsciously, adding to the poor 
child's early suffering by keeping constantly 



22 THE BUCKLYN SOAIG. 

before her eyes his own broken-hearted 
grief. Had it not been for the judicious 
and unremitting care of Madame de Bray, 
the effect upon her pupil's character of so 
much gloom would have been very bad for 
her. Great characters can bear the weight 
of great sorrow, but lesser minds are pressed 
flat, and become petty and peevish, unless 
a strong arm is there to support and raise 
them. Rose was of an affectionate, gentle, 
and joyous nature, but she was never in- 
tended for heroism, and if jDcrj^etual sadness 
had been allowed to put out the sparkle of 
her happy disposition, there would have 
been nothing grander to take its place. 

Madame de Bray endeavoured by degrees 
to press this upon Lord Clifford's attention, 
and to obtain for Rose a few innocent re- 
creations, such as were suited to her age 
and not out of place under the circum- 
stances, long before Lord Clifford himself 
had consented to see his nearest friends, or 
hardly to let the light of heaven penetrate 
the closed windows. The sympathy of all 



THE VILLA XEGROXI. 23 

who knew him was called forth by the 
depth of his grief. The Orsinis wanted 
him to join them at Florence, but he could 
not be induced to rouse himself from the 
spot where he had sunk down immediately 
after his great loss. The summer months 
therefore glided sadly and slowly by, amid 
the woods and mountain heights of Frascati, 
before Lord Clifford could be induced to en- 
tertain the thought of returning to England 
and resumins: his duties on his own estates. 



24 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



CHAPTER II. 

OLD FAITH REVIVED. 

We left Teresa silently wending her way 
to her own room on her return from the 
ride to Nutley Hall. Mr. Clifford found the 
Italian letters waiting for him on his study 
table. There were two for himself, one 
directed in his brother's writing, the other 
in Madame de Bray's. There were also two 
for Teresa, one from Madame de Bray en- 
closed in hers to Mr. Clifford, and one from 
Rose. 

Roger guessed the sad tidings they were 
intended to impart, before he broke the 
seals. A few heartbroken words from his 
brother, told the brief tale of his loss, and 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 25 

of his own anguish. There were more de- 
tails given in the letter of Madame de Bray. 
She wrote, as she said, at the request of his 
lordship, who was too much broken down 
with sorrow to dwell upon the incidents of 
his wife's death. 

Eoger felt glad that he had read these 
letters alone, as it gave him time to reflect 
on how he should break the news to Teresa. 
Her evidently depressed spirits on return- 
ing an hour ago from Xutley Hall, had left 
a painful impression on his mind. It was 
clear to him that she had a deep-rooted 
affection for her aunt. He did not share 
that affection, indeed he was incHned to be 
jealous of it. Moreover, he began to feel 
that he was not altogether the person to 
know how to deal with the delicate feelings 
and tender heart of a young girl. What 
should he do with her grief if she took it 
greatly to heart? How should he bear 
with sad looks and tearful eyes, in the place 
of that perennial cheerfulness which had 
hitherto so gladdened him ? He was greatly 



26 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

shocked at Angela s death, though, as we 
have seen, he was not really attached to his 
sister-in-law, whose keen perception of cha- 
racter, combined with her great truthful- 
ness, had always made him uncomfortable 
in her presence. Still, now she was gone, 
he felt what an immense loss she would be ; 
nor was he altogether without remorse on 
the subject, particularly wlien he read the 
maternal tenderness of her last messages to 
Teresa, as partially reported to him by 
Madame de Bray. 

Eoger walked musing up and down the 
room, feeling thoroughly out of his element 
and very undecided, for some time. At 
length, as it was to be done, he felt it was 
best to get it over. And putting the letters 
into his pocket he went to Teresa's room. 
He found his daughter wrapped in a white 
dressing-gown, and curled up in an arm- 
chair, with a book on her knee. She was 
half turned away from the door as he 
entered. The long hair that had been con- 
fined close under her riding-hat had made 



OLD FAITH EETIVED. 27 

its escape, and was wandering in dark 
wavy tresses over her shoulders and across 
her fair, round, well-moulded arm. TVith 
one hand she kept back her hair from her 
face, with the other she held open the book. 
She was so absorbed in her reading, that 
though she had replied " Come in" to his 
knock, she concluded it was only her maid 
come to dress her for dinner, and so she 
did not for a moment raise her head. But 
the first step her father made towards her, 
striking her as not being that of made- 
moiselle Julie, she looked up, uttered a 
little cry of surprise, and rose to meet him. 
She saw at once by his face that something 
was the matter, and her countenance fell. 
He did not know how to begin, or what to 
say. He felt, as he looked at her fragile 
delicate form, and saw her eyes dilate, and 
her cheeks turn nearly as white as her 
dress, that one sudden word might break 
down that delicate flower and leave it shat- 
tered at his feet. Still, he must speak, so 
he began : 



28 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

'^ I have bad news for you, my poor 
child, news from Italy. Your poor aunt 
is " 

But before he could finish his sentence, 
Teresa's face had assumed an expression of 
intense pain^ a livid paleness grew round 
her lips, she suddenly clasped her hands, 
gave a faint cry, and fell lifeless in his 
arms. With an exclamation of despair her 
father raised her and laid her on the sofa, 
and rang the bell violently for assistance. 
He did not cease to ring it till both Julie 
and Mrs. Brown rushed into the room. 
The latter, as soon as her eyes fell on 
Teresa s face, exclaiming : 

" Ah, poor darling ! I thought as much." 

She proceeded at once to loosen her 
dress and apply all sorts of restoratives, 
but for a long time without any success. 

A groom on horseback was sent to fetch 
the medical man from Blackdean. A full 
half-hour elapsed before Teresa gave any 
signs of life. Mr. Clifford never left the 
room, and watched with a settled look of 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 29 

anguish all Mrs. Brown's attempts to recall 
tlie life-blood into that sweet wan face. 

"Just like her mother, sir," said Mrs. 
Brown. " You know^ sir, how she used to 
go off if anything dreadful startled her. I 
thought how it would be, when I saw Miss 
Teresa come back this time with the same 
beautiful milk-white complexion her poor 
mother had. It is heart, sir, that's what it 
is. Mrs. Clifford always said it was in her 
family. Her father died of it, and her 
elder sister. Ah, sir ! you remember." 

At length a faint dawn of life seemed 
to spread over Teresa's face ; she sighed 
gently once or twice, and finally, opening 
her eyes, looked up at her father. 

" My darling !" exclaimed the unhappy 
man. And bending down he kissed her 
brow, and hastily left the room to conceal 
his tears. Yes! tears^ holy tears, on the 
curdled cheeks of Roger Clifford the mur- 
derer. 

When the doctor arrived he confirmed 
Mrs. Brown's statement of its being the 



30 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

result of the same tendency to disease of the 
heart which he had known in Mrs. Clifford, 
and which he had always apprehended 
would one day cause her death. Mrs. 
Brown's remarks, and the subsequent con- 
versation with the doctor, produced a sin- 
gular impression on Eoger's mind. It 
carried back his thoughts nearly twenty 
years ago, to the one or two instances when 
the same sort of g'cenes were enacted in that 
same room, and he had stood watching 
another fair being, lying apparently lifeless, 
just as Teresa had done. His married life 
had gone so completely out of his mind, 
that from that time till now he had hardly 
ever thought about what happened during 
those few years. The past had seemed like 
a dream. It was the present only that 
gave it reality. He remembered that he 
had been rather careless and indifferent 
then, and he wondered to find himself so 
much more strongly affected now. 

It was strange to him, when he paused to 
reflect upon it, to find that he appreciated 



OLD FAITH RETIYED. 31 

in his child the quahties he had been callous 
to in his wife. And when he found him- 
self gentle and affectionate towards Teresa, 
he wondered that he had not felt a little 
more so towards her mother. He wondered 
he had never thought of all this before. 
He marvelled to find how completely he had 
buried the past; how utterly the noxious 
fumes of a bad life had obliterated so much 
that ought to have been his delight in pos- 
session, and his anguish in losing, but which 
had failed to be either. He had known that 
his wife had a tendency to heart complaint, 
but he never remembered having quailed at 
the thought of what it might end in, as 
he now quailed for Teresa. What would 
he not have given to have been able to 
bridge over those twenty years ago and 
this anxious now, with the memory of a 
well-spent life, instead of with the ghastly 
images and horrid remorse that alone 
found place in the whited sepulchre of his 
heart. 

It was many days before Teresa began 



32 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

to rally. Days of hushed watching, and 
anxiously silent thoughts. She did not 
leave her room for some time; and Roger 
would sit with his book before his face, 
while a careful observer would have per- 
ceived that the page was not on a level 
with his sight, but that his eyes were fixed 
on Teresa. 

Poor child ! It was her first sorrow, and 
it had come at a moment when the weary 
responsibility of life had begun already to 
weigh upon her young spirit. The .pecu- 
liarities of her home had been telling 
against the hopefulness and joy with which 
she had first exchanged her convent-school 
for Raymond Castle. She had been feeling 
(as young motherless girls always must 
feel, unless the world has destroyed all their 
freshness and much of their innocence) the 
need of a woman's hand to guide her, and 
a woman's heart to confide in; and her 
thoughts had gone forth with longing 
towards Aunt Angela, and the refined 
softened brightness of her life at Nutley 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 33- 

Hall. The blow that had destroyed her 
hopes of seeing those days at least partially 
return, had fallen exactly at the moment 
when circumstances had carried her long- 
ing regrets to their culminating point ; the 
prostration was proportionate, and had de- 
veloped the sad certainty that she inherited 
her mother's complaint in even a worse 
form. It was one she might live with for 
many years, or that might cut her off quite 
suddenly in the flower of her youth. 

Mr. Clifford's very frequent presence in 
his daughter's apartments was on the whole 
productive of restraint upon Teresa, and 
rather tended to increase her depression. 
She found out more from his silence than 
his words how inadequately he shared the 
regret and mourning for the dead which 
was devouring her heart. The incident had 
let her deeper down into her father's cha- 
racter than she had yet penetrated. And 
in spite of his increased tenderness to her, 
what she found there was not satisfactory. 
All this increased her sadness, and retarded 

VOL. TI. D 



34 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

"her recovery. One morning, when the feel- 
ing of her real loneliness was pressing upon 
her even more than usual, and the desire to 
speak freely and openly to some one who 
could understand her, she sent for Mrs. 
Brown, to take her opinion on a subject 
she had much at heart. It was to ask Mrs. 
Brown whether she thought Mr. Clifford 
would permit Father Netherby to come and 
see her, and as it would yet be some time 
before she could goto church, if mass might 
be said in her mother's oratory. Mrs. Brown 
cautiously paused a moment before making 
any reply, and then said : 

" Well, miss, it seems to me that Mr. 
Clifford would not wish to deprive you of 
the comfort of seeing Father Netherby, 
although the reverend father never does 
come here. I do not believe he and Mr. 
CHfford have met for above a year, although 
Mr. Clifford is very generous in sending 
down alms for the poor, and all that sort of 
thing. With regard to mass, miss, perhaps 
you had better speak to Father Netherby 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 35 

first about that. To be sure^ there is the 
privilege attached to your poor mother's 
oratory; and I know as she had a great 
many permissions from Eome ; and may be 
the bishop ^YOuld be very glad that mass 
should be said again in this old castle, that 
has ever been in Catholic hands_, and that 
till Mr. Clifford's time had the chapel that 
belonged to the mission within its very 
walls, as you know^ miss^ till Mr. Clifford 
got permission to get rid of it, and move 
everything do^vn to the chapel-house in the 
village. But I think^ as I said before, miss, 
you had better say you wish to see Father 
Netherby, and speak to him first about 
having mass_, before you say a word of that 
to Mr. CKfford." 

Teresa's heart sank as she found her 
worst apprehensions thus confirmed by the 
evident caution and doubt conveyed by Mrs. 
Brown's reply, and, with her nervously 
eager disposition, she resolved on having 
the question decided at once. It did not 
seem possible to her that Father Netherby's 



36 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

visit could be prevented. The scandal of 
forbidding the house to the priest would be 
so great that no one of the name of Clifford 
could possibly be guilty of it. It was a 
different thing to never inviting him^ when 
there was no particular reason for his coming 
beyond the good understanding that ought 
to exist between the priest and the leading 
house of the place. And therefore Teresa 
had no doubt of success and permission ; 
but she felt too physically weak and nervous 
to ask her father anything the thought of 
which made her heart beat faster. She 
therefore commissioned Mrs. Brown to go 
at once, and tell Mr. Clifford that she 
wished Father Netherby to be sent for. 

How far Mrs. Brown appreciated the 
being selected for this mission may be 
somewhat doubtful ; but anyhow it was not 
one she could refuse, even had she wished 
to do so. Summoning therefore all her 
courage, she knocked at Mr. Clifford's 
study-door and obtained admission. But 
it was not until he heard the unexpected 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 37 

sound of Mrs. Brown's voice that he looked 
up from his book. 

^^ If you please, sir, Miss Teresa has sent 
me to say that she would be very much 
obliged to you, if you would let one of the 
servants step down to Father Xetherby^ 
and tell him she wishes to see him." 

A peculiar expression of annoyance swept 
over Mr. Clifford's face. After a momentary 
pause, he asked if Miss CHfford were feeling 
less well. 

" No, sir, it is not that," rephed the 
housekeeper, " but ^liss Teresa would like 
to speak with the reverend father, as is 
natural, sir^ seeing how ill she has been, 
and the sorrow she is in, poor young lady." 

" Send for him, Mrs. Brown." 

" Directly, sir ?" 

" Directly ; and desire Yincenzo to order 
round my horse immediately, and William 
is to ride the chestnut horse." 

Mrs. Brown escaped willingly to do her 
master s bidding, and to inform Teresa that 
the father was sent for. 



38 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

The pale calm face of the Jesuit was a 
shade paler as he crossed that "unaccustomed 
threshold. Years ago he had been in the 
habit of coming frequently to visit — not 
Mr. Clifford, certainly — but the young 
wife, in the first disappointment of her 
unhappy home, when her inexperienced 
youth and her natural sensitiveness not 
unfrequently threw the poor frail being 
into paroxysms of mental suffering, which 
were sure to tell seriously, and oftentimes 
suddenly upon her delicate organization. 
It was his wise direction that had taught 
Mildred the secret of that self-control 
which we have seen first almost irritate, 
and finally excite the admiration of her 
Italian sister-in-law. As he followed the 
servant up the same staircase, and saw him 
pause at the same door after an interval of 
more than twenty years, he said to himself, 
" Le passe se retrouve toujours — how true 
that is !" When he entered the room, 
Teresa looked up for a moment without 
speaking, hid her face in her hands, and 



OLD FAITH REVITED. 39 

shed silent tears. He well knew all that 
was passing in that young heart. She had 
long ago told him the difficulties of her 
new home, as we have already seen, and it 
needed now only to take up the story from 
where she had last left it, heightened as it 
now was by her intervening illness and her 
sad loss. When she could speak^ her first 
words were : 

" Oh, father, you see it needed this to 
bring you here. No less a price than all 
this sorrow was required for me ever to 
obtain what you know I have so long de- 
sired, your presence once again in my 
mother's home." 

" And I find you," he said, " where I 
used to find her, and I trust, my child, as 
I used to find her — suffering, but patient ; 
afflicted, but submissive ; and in peace." 

" Yes, father, yes," murmured the weep- 
ing girl ; ^* but my loss is a heavy one, and 
it has come just when I so needed my dar- 
ling aunt's presence, that second mother to 
me, the only mother I have ever known." 



40 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

The conversation was long and serious. 
She told him more freely than she had ever 
done what were her difficulties and trials 
connected with her father and her life at 
home, and he encouraged and strengthened 
her in the task she had put before her of 
endeavouring to win her father, and through 
his affections obtain from him, by God's 
grace, a complete change of life. Then 
came the expression of her desire that at 
least until her health was sufficiently re- 
stored for her to go to the chapel house, 
mass might be said three times a week at 
the castle. Father Netherby hesitated a 
little, but as the privilege of mass was con- 
nected with the castle, and though there 
had been a long intermission the bishop's 
permission had never been withdrawn : he 
would not say it could not be. 

" The whole management and conduct of 
the household is greatly altered lately/' he 
said. " Mrs. Brown is an excellent woman, 
and has always done her best to keep mat- 
ters as they should be in a Christian family ; 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 41 

but no power on earth would have induced 
me to say mass beneath this roof a year or 
less ago, when I know to a certainty that 
much went on that would have been dis- 
graceful anywhere, and were doubly revolt- 
ing to me from their taking place in the 
house your saintly mother had consecrated 
by her pious life. For you, my child, I will 
gladly do what I did for her, if you can 
obtain Mr. Clifford's permission, and I shall 
consider it a very hopeful sign if he grants 
it. The suffering you are now going through 
will, I trust, obtain you that, and more 
further on. Sacrifice is the law of answered 
prayer, and you, my child, have offered 
yourself as a ready victim. Go on in hope, 
and you will yet obtain all you ask." 

Eelieved by this long and happy inter- 
view, Teresa hardly felt how much it would 
cost her to make her intended request, until 
the encouraging presence of the kind Jesuit 
was over, and she was left alone ; but true 
to her own prompt nature^ she decided that 
no time was hke the present time, and 



42 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

wisely calculated that tlie longer she put it 
off the more she should suffer the pangs of 
suspense, in addition to the difficulty of 
doing it at last. Therefore, she was resolved 
it should be got over that evening, when 
her father came to sit with her after dinner. 

Mr. Clifford had left the house before 
Father Netherby entered it; and on first 
mounting his horse had put him to a brisk 
trot down the park and along the road, till 
taking a bend to the right in the direction 
of the hills, he turned down a shady lane, 
which was a short cut to the Manor 
Grange. 

The Manor Grange was a large, pic- 
turesque Elizabethan house, the property of 
Sir Hugh Redcliffe and his ancestors from 
time immemorial. It was built in red brick, 
with stone facings ; it had gable-ends and 
tall twisted chimneys, a huge porch, and 
bay windows round which clambered the 
honeysuckle, the rose, and the white-tufted 
clematis, filling the warm air with perfume. 
There was a great deal of old oak wains- 



OLD FAITH REYIYED. 43 

coting, and riclily-embossed ceilings ; the 
rooms were low and rather dark ; the cor- 
ridors long and decidedly narrow ; the fire- 
places enormous, but emitting a doubtful 
amount of heat in proportion to their size, 
because the larger portion went up the 
chimney instead of into the room ; not that 
our readers must gather from this that the 
Manor Grange was a cold, comfortless 
house. It had been, no doubt, in the days 
of the old Sir Hughs alternating with the 
Sir Cecils, who had lived there since the 
first creation of baronets, and long before as 
knights and simple esquires ; but the pre- 
sent head of the family had adopted all the 
then modern improvements of stoves and 
pipes, and though the passages remained 
rather draughty, and it was usual for the 
baronet's wife of each generation to become 
rheumatic after a certain age (a sort of 
matter of course privilege of the family 
which she came into near the close of her 
married life as surely as she had come into 
the family jewels early in her youth on the 



44 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

demise of the preceding baronet) ; yet, on 
the whole, few mansions of that day were 
more thoroughly warm, cosy, and comfort- 
able than the Manor Grange. The present 
family consisted of Sir Hugh and Lady 
Redcliffe, their only son Cecil, who had 
come of age the preceding winter, and two 
fair, merry, thoroughly English girls, aged 
severally seventeen and eighteen, named 
Clara and Agnes. 

The Redcliffes were, in one respect, the 
exact reverse of the Cliffords, for they 
scarcely ever left home. Once in four years, 
perhaps, the family had moved to London ; 
once in two years Sir Hugh had gone 
thither alone for six weeks, having settled 
all his worldly affairs accurately before 
leaving, and coming back with an enor- 
mous inlay of dresses, hats, fans, and 
fashions ; which were selected and carefully 
packed, accompanied by long accounts of 
how each article was to be made up and 
worn, by Sir Hugh's married sister, whose 
husband was constantly occupied in London ; 



OLD FAITH RETIYED. 45 

and consequently, both husband and wife 
were nearly as great fixtures in town as Sir 
Hugh and my lady were in the country. 
The intervening year when no one went to 
London, Lady Eedcliffe and her daughters 
metamorphosed their last year's dresses in 
accordance with dear aunt Grace's clever 
descriptions, and sundry little pen and ink 
outlines filled in with water colours, desti- 
tute of much shading, but truly graphic, 
and having a sort of shadowing forth of 
artistic skill not quite to be despised even 
in our day. Every now and then the 
favour was reversed, and aunt Grace would 
come to gather a few real roses in exchange 
for the artificial ones that she had supplied 
from London. 

A more genial, amiable^ t^appy family 
could hardly be found than that at the 
Manor Grange. Cheerfulness, piety, gene- 
rosity to the poor, and courtesy to all, 
seemed to be hereditary virtues, shared by 
all alike. 

Sir Hugh was a broad-shouldered, power- 



46 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ful man, with a benign brow, and a ruddy 
cheek that spoke of health and constant out- 
of-door exercise. He had a full sonorous 
voice, was quick and elastic in his move- 
ments, he had a large strong hand, perhaps 
from the habit of much riding, and break- 
ing in his own horses, but it was neverthe- 
less a gentlemanly hand ; and he had a 
small foot of which he was justly proud, 
and a remarkably neatly-turned ankle and 
leg, which all showed to great advantage in 
large gold buckles and silk stockings, when 
Sir Hugh led down the middle and up again 
at the opening dance of the annual Christ- 
mas ball given at the Manor Grange, the 
noblest lady in the house, or the most recent 
bride of the county. 

Lady Redcliffe was a model country 
gentleman's wife. She adored her husband, 
slaved for her children, was bountiful to the 
poor, and very much occupied with her 
garden and poultry-yard. Hers was one of 
those large liberal natures that remind us of 
a wide-spreading tree in whose branches 



OLD FAITH REYITED. 47 

countless birds find room to nestle, and be- 
neath whose shade the timid flocks and herds 
seek shelter alike from rain and heat. For 
fifteen miles round people went to Lady 
Eedclifi'e when they wanted anything, 
whether the want was the knowledge of 
how to cure the whooping-cough, or how to 
make up an intricate family quarrel. She 
seemed always to take everybody's part, 
just because she had even-handed sympathy 
•for all, and was never too square or too 
short in her judgment, but full of large 
allowances for each and overflowing charity. 
Sir Hugh was a little less liberal and a 
little more severe, but somehow his wife 
always won him round to her view ; and he 
was generally known to give in with a 
laughing assertion that on the whole he 
thought Lady Redcliffe rather preferred 
people who had got into some scrape, and 
that he believed the surest road to her com- 
passion and affection was to have done 
something decidedly wrong. She would 
laugh in return and shake her head, and 



48 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

say, " No, no, Sir Hugh, it is too bad of you 
to say that ; only I am so sorry for them, 
and I do think they ought to be allowed 
another chance." 

Some such remarks had been made the 
very morning of the day when Roger was 
on his way to Manor Grange, and his name 
had happened to come up in conversation. 
They had been talking of Lady Clifford's 
death, and of their own deep regret at her 
loss. Lady Redcliffe had announced her 
intention of going over to see Teresa, and 
was blaming herself for not having yet 
done it since she had been at the castle. 
Sir Hugh had muttered something rather 
disparaging about the ways of the castle in 
general, and the ways of its master in par- 
ticular, and Lady Redcliffe had as usual 
taken up the cudgels in his defence, and 
assured them all that for her part she very 
much pitied Mr. Clifford. He had been left 
all alone, poor man, in the castle so long ; 
his wife dead, and his daughter at school. 
Perhaps things had not been altogether 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 49 

what they might have been (she generally 
used " might " and " could " where other 
people put " should " and " must "), but 
now Teresa had come home, of course it 
would be all right and proper. She thought 
the county people had been very unchari- 
table in listening to silly stories and throw- 
ing out extraordinary hints. She really did 
not know what people would take into their 
heads next. If Mr. Bethune never did cret 

o 

back to Paris, she supposed he got back 
somewhere else ; and, after all, what busi- 
ness was it of anybody's where Mr. Bethune 
got to ? For her part, she could not imagine 
what it all meant, and she should like very 
much to see Mr. Clifford, and at all events, 
she should go and see that poor motherless 
girl. In short, Mr. Clifford having been 
so fortunate as to be attacked in Lady Red- 
cliffe's presence, had immediately gained in 
her a warm friend and a zealous supporter. 
It was exactly what he wanted at that 
particular moment — not for himself, poor 
unhappy man ! but for Teresa. And it was 

VOL. II. E 



50 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

in the hope of finding a friend in Lady 
Eedcliffe that he had broken through his 
reserve and recent shyness with his neigh- 
bours, and rode up to the door to ask, not 
for Sir Hugh, but for Lady Eedcliffe. 

Eoger had left the house simply with tlae 
intention of getting out of Father Netherby's 
way, and so avoiding any awkwardness ; but 
the announcement that Teresa wished him 
sent for had set him musing about many 
things in connection with his little daughter, 
and his own position as her sole surviving 
parent. He was a great deal more seriously 
impressed with the responsibility of having 
a young girl to care for than he had ever 
been in his life before about any single 
duty. He did not view the question in the 
simple, hopeful way that a good Christian 
father would have done, but he intricated it 
in his own mind with the reflections of a 
man of the world and a philosopher. He 
considered Teresa in the light of a pheno- 
menon of the youthful female sex placed 
under his care. He moralised upon the 



OLD FAITH REYIYED. 51 

condition, he mused upon the idiosyncrasies 
of women in the abstract. He recalled all 
he had -read and all that his own experience 
had shown him. The mental faculties, the 
imagination, the tendencies, the susceptibi- 
lities, and the requirements of women were 
all sorted and arranged in his mind with 
wonderful erudition and logical accuracy; 
and the result of all these ethical reflections, 
brought to bear with powerful focus on the 
one unconscious little girl who came practi- 
cally beneath his observation, was that the 
poor philosopher had got completely puzzled 
between his theories and his one eccempla 
gratia. 

This mental condition had not declared 
itself when Teresa first returned home. He 
had taken her arrival partly as a matter of 
course, partly as a doubtful joy ; but when 
he found Teresa occupying much of his 
time, and more of his thoughts, when he 
found that to have a beautiful and intelli- 
gent daughter of eighteen always present 
was not a mere ac-cident in a man s life, but, 



UBRARt 

UNIVERSffY OF ll»«« 



52 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

forsooth, a very serious and absorbing fact, 
forthwith the student and the philosopher 
seized upon it for dissection and microscopic 
inquiry, and called in all science and all 
learning to aid. And when, added to this, 
the father found his affections very seriously 
enlisted in favour of his specimen, the study 
became altogether the most interesting, and 
certainly the most anxious, in which he had 
ever been engaged. 

The unexpected display of sensibility in 
Teresa, on hearing the sad news of her 
aunt's death, and, above all, this new deve- 
lopment of wanting to see the priest, had 
quickened his apprehensions and added to 
his bewilderment. What, if his beautiful 
and romantic daughter were to fall a victim 
to religious mania? What, if deprived of 
all intercourse with equals of her own sex, 
she were to grow peculiar and eccentric ? 
What, if deprived of all society of the other 
sex, save in the person of her own philoso- 
phical father, she were to become melan- 
choly and morbid ? Terror upon terror 



OLD FAITH REYIYED. 53 

grew before him, till at length he resolved 
(and that, as our readers have seen, after 
very brief deliberation) upon calling to his 
aid the large motherly heart of Lady Red- 
cliffe, with her two buxom, strong nerved, 
absolutely healthy daughters. And per- 
haps Roger was not altogether oblivious of 
a certain good-looking Cecil Redcliffe form- 
ing an important member of the household, 
and who might perhaps prove not only an 
auxiliary, but in himself at once the com- 
plete remedy, the perfect cure, the infallible 
antidote, and everything else that was 
desirable. 

How little was our heroine aware, in 
her pious, self-oblivious conversation with 
Father Netherby, exclusively occupied as 
she was with questions connected with her 
duties and her poor father's highest welfare, 
of the curious psychological conclusions to 
which that same father's anxiety about her 
was leading him. She would not have 
understood them even could they have been 
put before her. 



54 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

When Roger entered the morning-room 
of the Manor Grange, Lady Eedcliffe came 
forward to meet him with her kindest smile 
pervading her somewhat sun-burnt but not 
unhandsome face, and both hands extended. 
There was reason enough in her mind for 
any amount of affectionate warmth. Of 
course he was in sorrow for his sister-in- 
law's death. Moreover, the neighbours 
had lately been uncongenial and inhos- 
pitable, and had put about ugly reports 
respecting him ; and, jfinally, there was his 
poor little motherless daughter to be thought 
of; and no doubt he wanted to talk with 
her about the dear girl. So that alto- 
gether Roger Clifford was at that moment 
a much more interesting individual in Lady 
Redcliffe's eyes than he had ever been 
before. Another reason was, that Lady 
Redcliffe had tact enough to have found out 
that when people first meet their friends 
after they have themselves been in trouble, 
they always feel shy and conscious, at least 
if they happen to be English. And the 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 55 

only way to set them at their ease is to be 
very much so yourself, while, at the same 
time, by throwing a little extra affection 
into your manner, you give them to under- 
stand that your cheeriness does not at all 
arise from indifference or want of sym- 
pathy, but is, in fact, the intended expres- 
sion of both. Lady Eedcliffe's kind-hearted 
manoeuvre succeeded perfectly. The proud, 
reserved Eoger had in less than a quarter 
of an hour opened up the full chapter of his 
anxieties about Teresa, and effectually left 
upon Lady Redcliffe's mind the impression 
that Teresa was decidedly falling into a 
nervous state, and that change of air and 
cheerfal society were of imminent import- 
ance. It was speedily settled, that as soon 
as she was well enough to be removed she 
should re-visit her old friends at the Manor 
Grange. The girls had not met since they 
were all children, but as they had then seen 
a great deal of each other, they could not 
be considered strangers. 

Roger rode back to the castle extremely 



66 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

proud of his success. He was rather elated 
at thinking he had acted as a good father 
and an astute philosopher might be expected 
to act. He had played his part admirably 
as both. He had prepared a pleasant and 
very desirable change for his daughter. 
Lady Eedcliffe was a sensible woman for a 
young girl to be with. There were young 
companions of about her own age, and some- 
where in the background — not wanted just 
yet, because he certainly could not part with 
Teresa, but available for some future time, 
and therefore not to be lost sight of — there 
was that Cecil Eedcliffe — a handsome young 
man, and heir to a good fortune ; and Roger 
smiled to himself as he became conscious 
that his speculations were taking a matri- 
monial turn. 

On his return, he found Teresa much 
more cheerful, and assuring him she in- 
tended coming down to dinner (for the 
first time since her illness), if she might be 
allowed a sofa instead of a chair, so as not 
to have to sit up the whole of the time, as 



OLD FAITH REYIVED. 57 

she was still very weak. Eoger was de- 
lighted. He had grown tired of his solitary 
meals, and could not understand how he 
had borne with so many before Teresa 
came ; and with his late-developed domestic 
feelings, he was pleased with the degree of 
small attention that his daughter's invahd 
state necessitated on his part. So when din- 
ner was on the table, escorted down-stairs by 
Mademoiselle Julie, Teresa appeared at the 
open door ; her step was a little uncertain^ 
her complexion more transparent than ever, 
she was dressed in floating robes of white 
muslin, and her feet were thrust into Httle 
black satin slippers. She had wisely avoided 
(by the excuse of not making a regular 
evening toilet) the necessity of appearing 
in mourning for the first time she came 
down-stairs, for she had heard her father 
say how much he disliked to see young 
people in deep black, and Teresa had long 
ago found out how alive Eoger was to all 
outward impressions which might disturb 
his taste or shock his prejudices. 



58 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

As for Roger, he felt the charmed sym- 
pathy of a man who till then had never 
learnt to appreciate all the tender interest 
of a gentlewoman's presence, and expe- 
rienced, almost for the first time, the quiet 
domestic poetry of refined life that he had 
so ruthlessly neglected in his youth. 

Teresa chatted in a lively tone, rejoiced 
at being again down-stairs and able to take 
part in her father's life. The deep shadow 
that had fallen on her young heart seemed 
to have rolled partially away, and her moral 
energies had been braced and invigorated 
during the long, enforced silence and soli- 
tude of her sick room. But hidden in her 
heart lay the request she had to proffer, and 
the fixed resolve that nothing should pre- 
vent her seizing this opportune moment 
for making the great effort to bring again 
under that roof the religious privileges to 
which, from time immemorial, Raymond 
Castle had been entitled, and which her 
delicate health rendered so important to 
herself. It was decided that when dmner 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 59 

was over Teresa should not make the exer- 
tion of going into the drawing-room, but 
have her sofa rolled into the large bay 
window near the round table, and her 
father's arm-chair placed on the other side. 
The evening was warm and still ; through 
the open windows the perfume of a large 
bed of double-stocks stole into the room. 
The view was in the direction of the hills to 
the north, and amid the thick fern where 
the deer were browsing, Teresa could see the 
little footpath across the turf she had been 
in the habit of treading every morning on 
her way to early mass. It was the short 
cut to church, and there were wooden steps 
over the park palings instead of a gate, as 
it was in fact not a recognised road at all, 
and existed chiefly for the convenience of 
gamekeepers and gardeners coming to and 
from the castle. She looked at the little 
sinuous line just visible on the grass, 
dreamily and sadly, while the fear of broach- 
ing the subject grew in her thoughts, and 
being still weak and ill, brought a bright 



60 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

hectic spot in her cheeks. Roger was watch- 
ing her. She was conscious of it, and looking 
up, their eyes met. She smiled, and answer- 
ing the expression of his face rather than 
his words, for he had not spoken^ she said : 

" I was thinking, papa, how many more 
days it would be before I should be well 
enough to be wending my way to church 
by eight in the morning ; and I want to 
know, dear father, if you would let me have 
mass said in the oratory here ? Father 
Netherby says he will come if you will 
allow it." 

She paused, and for a moment there was 
no answer. A deep red stain rather than a 
blush spread over Eoger's brow, and fading 
away, left his countenance livid. At length, 
in a voice choking with emotion, he said, 
'* Teresa, you don't know what you ask." 

With one hand he shaded his eyes, the 
other dropped by his side. In an instant 
she had noiselessly slipped from her sofa, 
and kneeling by his chair, had raised that 
hand to her lips. 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 61 

" Forgive me, dear father ; I have given 
you pain ; why or how I do not know ; but 
this I know, / am in sorrow;" and her voice 
trembled a little, " and you are in sorrow, or 
have beeA. Let the great Consoler come 
and comfort us both." 

Oh, agony ! oh, horror ! — not a hundred 
yards away there was that closed room, 
within whose locked doors, beneath whose 
broken floor lav hid that well, and what was 
in it. The dark deed of that night, and 
the deathless remorse that had followed it, 
awoke in the memory of the wretched man 
with tenfold force, as the sudden thought of 
the robed priest and the white Host elevated 
again in that blood-stained house, swept 
before his mental vision : Mildred, in her 
fair, neglected youth, kneeling as he had 
seen her in that little sanctuary of her inner 
life, the oratory she had made for herself! 
Mildred, dead and buried far away ! The 
long years that, godless and alone, the am- 
bitious and mammon-loving man had 
hurried through the length and breadth of 



^62 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Europe, the associate of infidels, the friend 
and admirer of Voltaire, the boon-com- 
panion of profligates — all glared upon his 
seared conscience, and now tempted him to 
deny his faith, and to renounce his God. 
But the very hatred proved that he believed ; 
and though Roger had scoffed with the 
scoffer, and sneered with the philosopher, 
yet beneath all that there was the faith that 
makes the devils tremble, and which then, 
and often, convulsed his whole being with 
dread and terror. Roger would perhaps 
have made a more complete unbeliever had 
he been less of a criminal ; if all his life 
he had carried on the lie of stolid respect- 
ability clothed in worldly success, his cold 
nature might have stood unshaken to the 
end, and presented to the world and him- 
self the appearance of integrity, while the 
demons of Selfishness and Pride, Luxury 
Avarice, were having it all to themselves in 
the soul's depths below. 

But the horror of his crime, while of 
course it separated him farther from grace. 



OLD FAITH REYITED. 63^ 

awoke in him a full sense of moral con- 
sciousness. He might have gone on, slip- 
ping decorously into hell, if he had never 
hurt his own opinion of himself by a deed 
which no creed, or absence of creed, was 
ever found to warrant — the midnight mur- 
der of his friend, and guest, in his own 
house. And then those gentle words, from 
those innocent lips still pressed upon his 
hand, " Let the great Consoler come and 
comfort us both." Comfort to him ! Ah ! 
what could she know of the comfort he 
needed, and of how impressible it was he 
should find it. Teresa was afraid to speak 
again, neither did she like to drop the hand 
she held in her own and leave him. She 
was but his child, and dared not question 
him ; but she was a woman too, and she 
could not turn aside from a weeping man. 
Two suppressed groans escaped his lips; 
they were like sobs, and gently giving one 
pressure of the little fingers lying in his 
grasp, Eoger rose abruptly and left the 
room. Teresa, frightened and distressed, 



64 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

remained sitting on the floor by her father's 
chair ; her head hid in her hands, praying 
silently. She sat listening. She heard her 
father's step echoing through the long 
gallery and pass into his study, and then 
all was silent. The room grew dark as the 
shadows of the trees and browsing deer 
lengthened on the grass ; and the breath of 
the flowers, damp with the evening dew, 
came clinging round her white-draped form 
as she sat crouching on the ground like a 
little white rabbit. 

Presently the door opened gently, and in 
the shadow at the end of the room away 
from the window, Teresa saw the dark 
figure of her father. He stopped short 
when his eyes fell upon her figure on the 
ground : 

" Teresa," he said in a low husky voice, 
^' are you ill ?" 

She rose with difficulty, for, though not 
ill, she was shaken by the violence of 
emotion in her still convalescent state, 
and approached him. 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 65 

" No, dear father, but I have made you 
angry, and I am unhappy." 

" You do not know what you have asked, 
Teresa ; but you have not made me angry. 
Let it be as you wish, my dear child, and 
the sooner the better ; but say no more to 
me about it." 

In a moment the two little white arms 
were round his neck, and the young face, 
wet with happy tears, bent upon his shoul- 
der. Then one long kiss was pressed by 
those fresh lips on his cold pale cheek ; and, 
with the quick tact of her exquisite sensi- 
bility, she spoke playfully and sweetly : 

" And now, dear father, please to see 
your poor little daughter safe under Made- 
moiselle, Julie's care, for I am not over 
strong, and am v^ery tired with my first at- 
tempt at dining out." 

He led her away himself up the great oak 
staircase with the painted window ; and the 
angels' wings and the gold halo round the 
saints' heads, and the image of the Crucified, 
threw rich deep hues over Teresa's white 

VOL. II. F 



66 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

dress and Roger s blanched face, as they 
passed beneath the storied window. Oh, 
hajDpy token ! 

The weariness had all died out of Teresa's 
eyes long before she closed them for sleep, 
and the colour had come back to her cheek, 
when, sending for Mrs. Brown, she commu- 
nicated to her the happy intelligence that 
she had obtained her request. Though late 
for Teresa's invalid habits, it was not really 
more than an hour after sunset ; and there- 
fore Mrs. Brown had no hesitation in pro- 
mising to go at once down to Father Ne- 
therby and beg he would be at the castle 
at half-past eight the following morning. 
Teresa wanted herself to aid in preparing 
the oratory, and laying out the long-disused 
vestments. But Mrs. Brown would not 
allow her thus to fatigue herself; and 
promising that the best flowers should be 
culled from the conservatory and hothouse 
for the altar, she left her satisfied and 
happy, almost too happy for sleep. 

None but the oldest servants in the 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 67 

family had ever seen mass performed in the 
castle before. It was a surprise to tlie 
younger members, and a cause of thankful 
tears to the older dependants who had 
watched the decay of all the practices of 
religion in that sad house ever since Mrs. 
Clifford's death. The voice of the old 
Jesuit father trembled a little with many 
emotions as he commenced. With the ex- 
ception of Yincenzo, there was not one 
servant absent who could possibly be spared 
from house, stables, or garden. Teresa 
knelt at the prie-dieu, to the right of the 
altar. There was another to the left which 
neither she nor any other inmate of the 
house expected would be occupied. But 
before the priest had mounted the altar-step 
the door of the oratory opened, and the tall 
figure of Roger Clifford, paler than ever, 
and with sternly compressed lips, quietly 
entered 'and knelt at the vacant prie-dieu. 
Teresa knew by instinct what had happened. 
She did not look round, but bent her head 
lower, and finally hid her face in her hands 



68 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

to conceal the tears of joy that she could 
not restrain. 

Thus had the innocent influence of one 
young, loving heart gained in a half-un- 
conscious way, a great victory over the 
earthly ambition that for years had been in- 
ducing Eoger gradually to slip out of the 
old faith, in the hope of ultimately estab- 
lishing his house in the favour of the new 
dynasty, and of rising in the world ; and — 
harder still — over the unrepenting remorse 
of a darkened heart ; at least so far as to 
bring about the first step towards a return 
to faith and hope. 

As Roger left the oratory Vincenzo ap- 
peared in the long corridor, officiously 
bringing the morning letters on a salver to 
meet his master. Roger took the letters in 
silence, and avoided meeting the man's 
eyes, which were fixed on his master's face 
with a sinister expression of mingled scorn 
and fear. 

Teresa's recovery progressed rapidly from 
this hour, and she was in no hurry to leave 



OLD FAITH REVIVED. 69 

her father and profit by Lady Redcliffe's 
invitation. Her mind was more at rest 
than it had been since her return home ; 
and even the dark shadow of her aunt's 
death was so irradiated with new hopes 
about her father, that it could no longer 
overpower the wonderful elasticity" of her 
natural character. She contrived upon 
one excuse or another, to remain long- 
enough to have seen it pass into a custom 
that mass should be said in the house and 
all the servants attend ; and the result was 
that the unhappy Eoger not unfrequently 
was seen there also. 

However, at length, after many protesta- 
tions to her father as to her dislike to leave 
him, and many assurances that she did not 
require any change, she was induced to 
consent to pay the promised visit. Eoger 
took her himself : and when it came to the 
parting, and Sir Hugh and Lady Redcliffe 
standing by, saw the intense affection with 
which Teresa in all her self-possessed grace- 
fulness, gently stirred but never agitated, 



70 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

took leave of her father; and Lady Red- 
cliffe noticed the way that grave man 
watched her out of those deep solemn eyes 
of his as they all stood at the hall-door_, 
while he prepared to drive off, she put 
her hand on her husband's shoulder and 
whispered in his ear : 

'' I cannot think how anybody can have a 
very bad opinion of a man who is so beloved 
by such a daughter as that, and who so 
loves in return. Such a holy influence 
must end in being his salvation." 



71 



CHAPTER III. 

FRASCATI AND THE MAXOR GRANGE. 

The long hot summer months passed slowly 
and tediously to Lord Clifford and Rose, 
in the Episcopal Palace at Frascati. The 
house itself, dignified with the name of 
palace because it belonged to the Cardinal 
Bishop, had none of the grandeur and 
splendour we usually associate with that 
high-sounding appellation. The entrance 
was in one of the narrow, almost squalid 
streets of the town ; and as the object of 
going into the country with Italians is 
chiefly to get away from the unwholesome 
air of Rome, and to see as little of the sun 
as possible — the windows, which might 



72 THE BUCKLYN SHAIO. 

have commanded tliat view almost un- 
rivalled in beauty, were placed too high 
for any one sitting in the apartment to see 
anything out of them but the cloudless sky. 
Each morn it unfolded its stainless blue as 
noon drew on, then the transparent veil of 
the finest white mist floated over the deep 
azure. Later on, as evening approached, 
the mist grew into huge volumes of white 
silver cloud, piled like mountains, and 
stretching along the horizon in billowy 
forms, vast and varied. Later still, the 
hot sun, in royal glory of purple and gold, 
sank majestically behind the far-off dome 
of St. Peter's that stood out dark and 
solemn against that vivid background, and 
dipped into his watery bed on the red-tinted 
waves of the tideless sea ; leaving the 
huge cloud-mountains dyed in the deepest 
crimson, flaming with red forests, and 
gleaming with lakes of molten silver. In 
the evening up rose the moon in her chaste 
simplicity, and put to flight the gorgeous 
phantasmagoria; leaving all the beautiful 



FRASCATI AND THE ^lAXOR GRANGE. 73 

pageant to fade away into what seemed 
endless regions of faint green and blue sky- 
land. Night drew on, and the billowy 
clouds gathered again black and menac- 
ing. The booming thunder seemed to call 
up its hoarse voice from amid the deep 
ravines of the Abruzzi, or from the lofty 
peaks of solitary Soracte. On it came, 
unrolling its terrors, till the whole air was 
filled with awful sound like a mighty 
Presence ; and suddenly the lightning 
scattered its characters of silver over the 
sea and the sleeping land^ waking up a 
thousand objects into vision clear and vivid^ 
like a thought of the awfulness of God shed 
suddenly on an unconscious world. But 
down again into the deep-rooted mountains, 
or the fathomless sea the voice of the storm 
had dropped^ and for a few moments all 
lay in utter darkness and utter silence, till 
again the mysterious messenger wakes up 
in thunder and in glare, and repeats his 
wordless prophecies far into the shuddering 
night. 



74 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Thus the angelic architects and land- 
scape-painters of the sky blazon forth the 
glories of creation above the plains of the 
Eternal City, and round the dark d.ome of 
the great cathedral of the world. 

Lord Clifford had fallen into the dreamy 
inactivity of a man who from an overwhelm- 
ing sorrow finds himself suddenly stranded 
on the shores of life, and feels that chart 
and pilot are lost, while the waters idly lap 
the beams of his useless vessel. There are 
some minds to whom sorrow, far more than 
joy, is an incentive to fresh action. In the 
dirge of each buried hopfe their quick ear 
detects a trumpet-call to be up and doing. 
They are souls who have an overwhelming 
sense of the awful responsibility of life, and 
of the claims of the Divine Master. As the 
affections of life drop from time to time 
into the grave, or — ah! far sadder still — 
into the bitterer, death of separation and 
estrangement, they count one shackle less 
to earth, one link nearer to heaven. The 
depth of their anguish is the altitude of 



FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE. 75 

their courage. They rally so soon, they 
live on so vigorous, that common men call 
them unfeeling, just as the crumbling sand- 
stone might call the diamond hard. One 
beat of a heart like that is worth twenty 
flutters of a weaker nature. They are 
the stuff the saints are made of. Let us 
shade our eyes, and praise the God of the 
strong — Lord Clifford was not among them. 
He had never known (how should he, see- 
ing he could not fathom her character), 
how much of his force was derived from 
the rich glowing nature of the gifted wife 
he had lost. His grief was not passionate 
— passion is seldom long-lived ; but it 
had crushed him. In time he would have 
rallied and possibly married again, as such 
men do. But other causes combined to 
keep him inert and languid. The climate 
of Italy was ill-adapted to his thorough 
Saxon constittition, and was reaUy under- 
mining his health while he attributed his 
increasing languor to purely mental causes. 
Madame de Bray, who was a remarkably 



76 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

keen, clear-sighted woman, was perfectly 
aware of the state of the case ; and was 
very anxious for Lord Clifford's own sake, 
as well as for Eose's, that he should return 
to his own country. But it was not till far 
into the month of September that she 
could persuade him to leave Italy. He 
clung to it as the birthplace of his beloved 
Angela, as the scene where he had first 
known and loved her, and as the land to 
which he had consigned her dear remains. 
Grief reveals a vein of poetry in many a 
heart which joy had left to its natural prose. 
And this was what had happened in Lord 
Clifford's character. No one who had only 
known him as the frank, fair, gentlemanly 
lord of Nutley Hall, the descendant of 
Saxon kings, with the cheery light of his 
ancestors' blue eyes, and the gay shining of 
their golden-tinted locks duly descended to 
his own handsome face, would have sup- 
posed there could lurk that pathetic sadness 
in his heart which had reduced him to a 
melancholy dreamer. Ah, well ! He who is 



FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRAXGE. 77 

the God of the strong, is also the Father of 
the weak. It would not be well if oaks 
were the only trees. The hjssoj) that 
grows upon the wall has its appointed 
place and lends its aid to grace the world ; 
and if there were no clinging ivy even 
the oak would lose its best ornament. 

Madame de Bray had, of course, been in 
correspondence with the Princess Orsini 
ever since poor Angela's pen had lain idly 
by. And to the princess she had commu- 
nicated all her apprehensions. Both the 
prince and princess had written again and 
again to beg Lord Clifford would join them 
in Florence ; but finding their entreaties did 
not induce him to move, they were resolved 
to try what their presence might do, and 
with a wonderful stretch of friendship had 
resolved upon braving a few days of the 
intense heat of August in Eome, so as to 
be able to see Lord Clifford, and if possible 
carry him back with them. Their arrival 
was* fixed for somewhere in the third week 
of August. 



78 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

And meanwhile, Madame de Bray, who 
was always on the look-out for some slight 
change of scene for Eose (and perhaps 
for herself too), had obtained permission 
to take Eose to Eome for the Feast of the 
Assumption, that they might witness the 
giving of the Papal Benediction from the 
balcony of St. Peter's. 

They had decided upon spending a long 
morning in that inexhaustible treasure- 
house of devotional and beautiful images, 
the Basihca itself; intending a short time 
before twelve to go out upon the steps, 
and so mingling with the crowd, which in 
that vast space is never excessive, see at 
once the venerable figure of the Pope, and 
the varied groups of the kneeling populace 
below. Their carriage was to wait for them 
in the Piazza. 

Eose Clifford by education and habits 
was half a Eoman, and she moved about 
the great Basilica with the pious famili- 
arity of a child of the house ; reverent 
but unembarrassed, simple and free. She 



FRASCATl AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 79 

Lad been in the habit of frequently sitting 
there for hours, accompanied by Madame 
de Bray, with a book in her hand ; and 
diversifying her studies with httle excur- 
sions to the various altars, or wandering 
round to examine the mosaics, and to 
accustom her eye to the wonderfully beau- 
tiful details which escape the notice of those 
who have not lived enough in St. Peter's 
to have become at home with its countless 
riches. 

They had been thus engaged on the 
morning of the loth of August. The 
dehcious even temperature within the walls 
of the Basilica had been refreshing after 
the scorching heat of the drive from their 
hotel. 

They had joined the groups of worship- 
pers during the masses that were going 
on at the various side-altars, and which 
always impress the stranger with such a 
sentiment of its being genuine real devo- 
tion, partly from the unceremonious and 
picturesque way in which, in the absence 



80 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

of all benches or chairs, each assistant falls 
on his knees on the marble pavement, 
while from a distance the whole presents 
a picture of many colours and varied 
groupings, animating the vast temple, and 
yet neither taking from its repose, nor 
encumbering its space. 

The great clock of St. Peter's had rung 
out a quarter to twelve. In another quarter 
of an hour the blessing uttered in the 
thrilling voice of the venerable pontiff, 
would float through the clear air and sink 
into the hearts of all near, and many far 
away, who though not within hearing of 
it live expectant of heaven s gifts, like far- 
off fields waiting thirstily for the coming 
shower. 

Five minutes before mid-day they stood 
on the steps of the Basilica. Deep silence 
fell upon that countless multitude. The 
actual stillness was so great that the eyes 
almost deceived the ears into mistaking the 
quivering of the dazzling sun-rays for a 
sound, confusing in one sensation the 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 81 

vibrations of light with the vibrations of 
air — an impression on the sister senses 
which is not unusual. 

The silence was short. The brief bless- 
ing was cast upon the winds in the solemn 
words consecrated by antiquity, and uttered 
by an aged man ; and then the momen- 
tarily-arrested flow of sound and move- 
ment burst its short restraint^ and chattered 
and buzzed all the more for the little in- 
terval of awe-struck repose. 

The crowd began to move on, and the 
anxious eyes of Madame de Bray and Rose 
were searching for the servant, whom they 
had told to stand in a particular spot that 
they might easily find him when they 
wanted the carriage. But nowhere was 
he to be seen, and as the mid-day heat was 
intense Madame de Bray was afraid of 
Rose being long exposed to the perpen- 
dicular rays of the sun in a sky without a 
cloud. 

She was still vainly endeavouring to 
discover Lord Clifford's English livery 

VOL. II. a 



82 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

amongst the maze of costumed peasants 
and Eoman footmen, when a young man 
came forward quickly, and bowing to Ma- 
dame de Bray and to Kose, took the prof- 
fered hand of the EngHsh maiden, accus- 
tomed only to the ordinary salutation of 
her country, and raised it to his lips. 

Eose blushed like the deepest crimson of 
her own namesake, and asked Andrea 
where he had come from, as she did not 
know he was in Rome ? 

" I only arrived late last night, and I 
too, did not know you were here. My 
father and mother are to arrive early next 
week, and I have come on first to see some 
arrangements carried out for them. My 
mother's carriage is here, Rose, and as 
Madame de Bray cannot detect yours in 
the crowd, nor can I see it, you will allow 
me to put ours at your disposal. . 

Madame de Bray was enchanted. She 
was glad to see a way out of their diffi- 
culties, and glad to meet Andrea, while to 
hear the two young people calling each 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 83 

other unconsciously by their christian names, 
as they had done from their cradle ujj- 
wards, nourished in the good lady's heart 
her cherished hopes for her pupil, and made 
her foresee the prospect of Lady Clifford's 
living and dying wishes being realised. 

With the true chivalry of high breeding, it 
was to Madame de Bray that Andrea Orsini 
offered his arm to lead her down the long- 
flight of easy steps, and not the younger 
lady, to where his carriage was standing in 
the Piazza. The three footmen with cocked- 
hats and gold-mounted canes, let down the 
ponderous steps of the richly emblazoned 
and decorated old Eoman family-coach, and 
Rose's little figure tripped lightly up, after 
madame was seated. Andrea followed, 
and took one long, happy gaze, at the fair 
face opposite him, as they drove away to 
the hotel wdiere Miss Clifford was stopping. 
He thought he had never seen anything 
more lovely than the spotless purity of 
Rose's complexion, hei^tened by the folds 
of her lace veil, and her deep mourning. 



84 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

The heavy black horses, for wliich Rome 
is famous, trotted in slow state througli the 
winding streets; it did not become them 
to compromise their dignity by unseemly 
haste, and as they leant their heads to- 
wards each other, and occasionally shook 
the heavy knots of their plaited and braided 
manes, they seemed to be conferring to- 
gether upon the unexpected presence in 
the carriage of the two strange ladies, and 
were evidently bent upon mentally sup- 
porting the dignity of the Orsinis by the 
uniform tramp of their well-trained pace ; 
while their glossy black coats shone 
through the cumbrous and heavily-embossed 
harness. 

Meanwhile, Madame de Bray had been 
aiding the timid wishes of the two young 
people, by telling Andrea that she was 
sure Lord Clifford would be glad to see 
him at Frascati. And then, authorized by 
the superior judgment of her chaperone. 
Rose had explained to him that they were 
to drive back late that evening, so that she 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 85 

could prepare her father to receive him 
the following day. He arranged to ride 
over very early in the morning, before the 
great heat began, and after resting a while 
at the hotel, to come to breakfast at twelve 
at the Episcopal Palace. 

He accompanied the ladies to the door of 
their apartment, and then, as farther delay 
would have been contrary to etiquette until 
he had paid his respects to Lord Clifford 
and received his permission to call ; he 
again kissed the httle hand that crept, this 
time rather furtively, into his, and left 
them. 

Rose had a sweet siesta and happy 
dreams, in which the great clock of St. 
Peter rang out a merry chime, instead of 
striking twelve. When she looked up to 
the balcony it was Andrea who appeared 
in the place of the Pope. It is true he 
gave no benediction, but she felt his eyes 
fall full upon her face as she stood in the 
crowd, and that seemed to do quite as well. 
Then, somehow or other, she came home 



86 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

in a cardinars carriage, and as it rained, 
the cardinal held his scarlet umbrella over 
her head, and she arrived not at the door 
of her hotel, but at Frascati, where her 
own dear mother and Andrea received her 
at the door, with open arms. Her mother 
kissed her, and said, " I have waited for 
this." 

Rose awoke with tears on her cheeks, 
very happy, but wondering what it all 
meant. And there stood Madame de Bray 
with a cup of coffee in her hand for 
Rose to drink, and a face all smiles ; but 
yet that looked as if she too, had been 
weeping. 

Lord Clifford was glad to have his darling 
back again, and though he said but little 
he was evidently pleased at the prospect of 
seeing Andrea. It may be doubtful how 
far the latter had effectually carried out 
whatever arrangements had called him to 
Rome as his parents' " avant courier," for his 
first visit to Frascati was not the only one 
he found leisure to pay before their arrival. 



FRASCATI AXD THE MANOR GRAXGE. 87 

It must however be acknowledged that 
they seemed perfectly satisfied when they 
came, with the way in which he had spent 
his time, and the day after they reached 
Rome they all three went to Frascati. 
The prince was the first to break upon 
the solitude of the poor widower, and the 
manly earnest sympathy of his friend 
seemed to impart vigour to Lord Clifford's 
drooping spirits. It was more trying to 
meet the princess, Angela's friend, but that 
too, did him good^ as it made an opening 
for him to utter all the pathetic tenderness 
of his grief by dwelling on a thousand 
touching details, which, next to himself, 
no one could better appreciate than the 
princess. The friends spent a week to- 
gether in the peaceful interchange of sym- 
pathy, sometimes frankly uttered, but 
more generally only appearing under cover 
of general friendship and interest. It was 
the first time that Lord Clifford had seemed 
to realise the fact that life had in nowise 
come to an end because the grave had 



88 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

robbed him of his companion. And by 
degrees he began to converse with the 
prince about their mutual poHtical interests, 
his own country, and his speedy return 
thither. One day the princess, finding him 
more readily led into the latter train of 
thought than usual, ventured to propose, 
that, the weather being now somewhat 
cooler after the succession of thunderstorms 
and the rain that generally follows the 
middle of August, they should all travel 
together as far as Florence, and he remain 
with them until he felt able to return to 
England. She had, with a woman's tact, 
hit upon exactly the moment when, without 
being himself conscious of it, he was waiting 
for some external impulse to lift him out of 
the groove into which he had sunk, and 
consequently the idea was no sooner sug- 
gested than he was impatient to put it in 
execution, and before thirty-six hours had 
elapsed the whole party were on their route 
to Florence. 

Many and long were the confidential 



FRASCATI A^'D THE MANOR GRANGE. 89 

discourses held by the princess and Madame 
de Bray upon the question of the marriage 
of Eose and Andrea. At first both the 
princess and her husband had been of 
opinion that the moment had come when 
the latter should speak openly on the sub- 
ject to Lord Clifford, and the affair be 
decided between the parents, as was the 
custom in those times and in families of 
that position. But when the princess per- 
ceived the morbid state of feeling into 
which Lord Clifford had for the present 
fallen, she thought that they would run 
considerable risk by putting anything before 
him which would suggest another loss and 
another separation. She questioned Madame 
de Bray as to her former fears (and which 
had always been expressed by Lady Clifford) 
that he might, in case of his own death 
before Rose was married, appoint her uncle 
Eoger her guardian. But to her relief she 
found Madame de Bray not entertaining 
this apprehension to the extent she had 
done formerly. La the first place, the pro-» 



90 THE BUCKLYN SHAIQ. 

babilities were in favour of Rose being 
married before very long, while Lord Clif- 
ford's health, though failing was not such 
as to lead any one to suppose he was likely 
to die in the prime of life. Moreover, in 
Madame de Bray's opinion, the sort of 
cloud under which Roger Clifford had lately 
fallen made her count it an impossibility 
that Lord Clifford should run any risk of 
compromising his daughter's interests by 
naming as her guardian a relation whose 
own character stood even less well in public 
opinion than formerly. But although satis- 
fied on this point, the princess had consi- 
derable difficulty in bringing herself to 
consent that the present opportunity should 
be allowed to pass. Madame de Bray 
appreciated the extreme sensitiveness of 
Lord Clifford's character better than the 
princess was likely to do. And she also 
better knew that that sensitiveness was not 
unmixed with selfishness, as is the case 
with all morbid persons ; and consequently, 
that the thought of even his darling Rose's 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 91 

future welfare would hardly plead sufficient 
excuse with him for the cruelty of threaten- 
ing him with losing her, or the barbarity 
of talking of marriage over the recently 
closed grave of his departed wife. Little 
did he think that, while following the 
instincts of his own grief, he was avoid- 
ing exactly that course of action which 
his beloved Angela would most have ap- 
proved and desired. 

Once stirred from his seclusion, he seemed 
as little able to settle again as he had 
previously been to leave Frascati, and the 
home sickness seized him as soon as he 
found himself out of reach of the city that 
Angela had so loved, and the old feudal 
castle with its wild lake near which she 
lay buried. He could hardly be persuaded 
to spend a week in Florence before he set 
out on his journey to England. He ob- 
tained a promise from the Orsinis (never to 
be fulfilled) that they would come to him 
the following spring; and at least when 
he left them, his friends had the satisfaction 



92 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

of seeing him roused from the stupor of his 
sorrow, and looking forward with con- 
scientious intentions, if not with much 
energy to his still remaining duties in his 
own land. 

Teresa's visit to the Manor Grange would 
have filled Eoger Clifford with satisfaction 
could he have seen how matters were pro- 
gressing. Indeed, had this been quite pos- 
sible, he probably would have expected 
much greater and altogether different results 
from any which the course of our history 
will have to describe. If he could have 
watched the growing colour in her cheeks^ 
and seen the expression of peace and cheer- 
fulness in her bright eyes every morning 
as she took her place at the breakfast-table, 
affectionately welcomed by Lady Eedcliffe 
and her daughters, he would have felt 
doubly proud of his child; while his half- 
acknowledged matrimonial scheming would 
have gained strength could he have noted 
the way in w^hich she was received by 
young Cecil, and heard the hearty good- 



FPvASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE. 93 

humour with which Sir Hugh day by day 
gave utterance to his satisfaction at her 
improved looks, which seemed each morning 
to strike him with increased delight, and 
which, claiming the privilege of being old 
enough to be her father, he expressed so 
imreservedly as to heighten very greatly 
the beautiful blush he was so glad to find 
had stolen into those once marble cheeks. 

Teresa was thoroughly happy, save per- 
haps for a little anxious feeling about her 
father, and some fears that her presence at 
home would be feiissed in more ways than one. 
She found at the Manor Grange all that she 
so much wanted at home. There was the 
vigorous energy of happy domestic life 
— the parents indulgent and devoted, the 
children affectionate and respectful. It was 
a thorough picture of a good old English 
family, rich in sterling virtues and in 
mutual affection. The superior refinement 
and exquisite grace of Teresa gave just the 
one touch of light that was wanted, and 
made her seem like some brilliant jewel set 



94 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

in massive gold. She herself was utterly 
unconscious of the effect she produced. 
From her own higher sphere she beamed 
down on the entranced admiration of the 
son of the house, like " some bright par- 
ticular star," whose one business it was to 
shine, and who did it as a matter of course, 
without premeditation or afterthought. 
She was graceful, because it was as natural, 
to her to be so as to a fawn. She was arch, 
because she had a keen sense of humour ; 
and she was at times beautifully pathetic, 
because her heart was steeped in heavenly 
thoughts, and the dew of divine grace 
distilled like nectar in her well-ordered 
speech. 

Before she had been there a fortnight, 
both Sir Hugh and Lady Eedcliffe began 
to perceive the effect she was producing in 
their domestic circle, and though both were 
pleased it should be so, they were too com- 
pletely in the dark as to her own feelings 
towards their only son, to be quite easy at 
seeing the deep impression she was making 



FRASCATI AXD THE MANOR GRANGE. 95 

on his affections. He had not, indeed, 
spoken a word to his parents ; but they 
were far too genial themselves, had too 
lively a recollection of what it was to be 
young — and, to say the truth, were even 
now too much in love with each other not 
to have a full perception of the hidden 
drama that was being carried on in poor 
Cecil's heart. So it came to pass, that late 
one night, after all had retired to rest, 
Sir Hugh and Lady Redcliffe held counsel 
together in dressing gown and slippers, 
over the embers of a fire, such as at the 
close of a very wet day in July is not 
always amiss in our chill land. 

" What do you think, my dear Harriet," 
began Sir Hugh, " about our pretty little 
guest? She is a charming girl, and as 
good as she is pretty ; but do you think 
that she has any idea of the havoc she is 
making with Cecil ? You know that dear 
boy is as transparent as a trout stream. I 
can see the whole progress of the malady 
going on, though he has no idea that I see 



96 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

anytliing. I am sorry to say he has got 
past the bkishing stage, and the time for 
making pretty speeches, and he is rapidly 
sinking into the pale, silent, woe-begone 
lover. What is to be done ? Do you think 
the little puss knows the mischief she has 
done ?" 

" That I am sure she does not," replied 
Lady Redcliffe ; " she is as innocent of it as 
a child. I wish she did know, or at least 
that she guessed it, because then there 
would be some chance of finding out 
whether she likes our Cecil enough to 
marry him. But really, as matters are now, 
I should be afraid she has realized it so 
little that if the thing were put before her 
she would just start away like a frightened 
bird, and we should lose her altogether ?" 

" Then you wish it, my lady^ do you ?" 
said Sir Hugh, slyly. 

'' Yes, I wish it, my dear Hugh ; I wish 
it very much ; but I am doubtful whether 
it will ever be, though I cannot give a rea- 
son for my doubt." 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRAXGE. 97 

" You surely do not think that Mr. Clif- 
ford would object ?" said Sir Hugh. 

'* Certainly not. He must have kno^oi 
what he was about when he sent his 
daughter here. It was hardly the sort of 
thing a mother would have done. She, at 
least, would have come herself. But it is 
exactly what one might expect from a help- 
less man left to take care of an only daugh- 
ter. When he spoke to me about Teresa's 
coming here for change of scene, I felt 
quite flattered by the confidence he reposed 
in us, but I thought it but right to drop a 
hint in the course of conversation that 
Cecil was stopping at home." 

" And what did he reply ?" 

" That he was very glad to hear it ; and 
so after that there was nothing more to be 
said. I thought to myself, perhaps he 
wishes it ; and now I know Teresa, I am 
sure I wish it ; and so there it is ! Only I 
don't think the girl has the smallest idea of 
anything of the sort." 

*' Cannot we say anything just to turn 

VOL. II. H 



98 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

her thoughts in that direction, my dear 
Harriet — something* of a hint, you know, 
that will make her look about her ?" 

" Oh, no, my dear Hugh ; I would not 
on any account do anything of the kind. 
It will all come in time. You are like a 
person wauting to force open a rosebud — 
you will only spoil it. Leave Teresa to 
find out the enigma for herself, or to learn 
it first from dear Cecil. Though I think 
before that happens you had better get at 
Mr. Clifford's full sentiments on the sub- 
ject.'* 

" Eeally, my dear Harriet, I think you 
are rather hard upon Cecil ; you refuse to 
lend him a helping hand, and you seem to 
think he is to wait and waste away, and all 
that Miss Teresa may be left to break hearts 
with as much sang-froid as she would an 
egg-shell. 

Lady Eedcliffe laughed. 

"Indeed I am not hard upon him; on 
the contrary, my heart aches for him, poor 
lad, and I am only waiting for an oppor- 



FRASCATI AXD THE MANOR GRANGE. 99 

tunity to encourage him by telling him how 
much you and I approve of Miss Clifford ; 
but from what I perceive of Teresa's cha- 
racter I do not think we shall gain any- 
thing by precipitating matters. She is still 
much absorbed by her sorrow for her aunt's 
death. She has a very lofty idea of her 
duty to her father, who, as she says, has no 
one in the world but her, for Eobert is no 
comfort to anybody. She has only been in 
her father's house a few months, and taken 
up as she is with those two feelings, I do 
not think she is in a state to admit of any 
rival sentiment just now. There is plenty 
of time^ dear Hugh ; she is only eighteen, 
and dear Cecil is only two-and-twenty." 

" And pray, my dear Harriet, when did 
you and I marry ? I thought, so far as my 
poor memory serves me, that we were 
exactly that age when we came to the con- 
viction that we could not live another day 
apart." 

"You are quite right, dear Hugh, and 
my experience has certainly not taught me 



100 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

to fear early marriages; but the present 
case is a peculiar one, and, I think, will 
require patience." 

" I will be as patient as I can, ray dear 
wife. I only hope I shall not let the cat 
out of the bag some day when Miss Teresa's 
beautiful serenity, and poor Cecil's awkward 
restlessness are putting me beside myself." 

And so the matter was left to rest a little 
longer. Clara and Agnes were as well 
aware as their mother could be of what 
was passing in Cecil's mind, and without 
by a word or a look intruding upon his 
secret, they were for ever managing that he 
should take part in their walks, and rides, 
and amusements. Teresa took it all as a 
proof of the great affection that reigned in 
that happy family, and never for a moment 
imagined her presence had anything to do 
with it. The consequence was she showed 
not only no opposition, but fell in with their 
plans as simply as if she had been a third 
sister, and so took part in their arrange- 
ments with her frank, sweet manner, all the 



FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE. 101 

while nourishing in the hidden depths of 
her beautiful soul high thoughts of God, 
low thoughts of herself, and a clear, noble, 
ever-aspiring sense of duty that lifted her 
morally into quite another and unseen 
sphere of interior life. 

Sir Hugh behaved very well for several 
days, and the only result of his conversation 
with Lady Redcliffe was to make him kinder 
and more paternal than ever in his manner 
to Teresa ; while Cecil, seeing the way she 
was treated by his parents, began to take 
heart of grace, and to believe that his 
wishes were not at all unattainable. But 
by degrees a little perversity began to 
grow into the good baronet's humour. He 
thought that they were all too timid and 
discreet, and that a little more outspoken 
sentiment would prove a better and more 
healthy mode of proceeding. 

" Good gracious me !" exclaimed the 
worthy man ; " why, what are the girls 
made of in the present day, when you must 
not tell them that an honest man is in love 



102 THE BUCKLYN" SHAIG. 

with them ? You don't mean to tell me 
that pretty creature, who changes colour 
like the hreast of a pigeon with every turn, 
has not got a heart, and does not know that 
somebody will want to marry her ? Why, 
in my time the babies knew that in their 
nurseries. If it were not that, queen as she 
looks, she is as humble and gentle as a 
little mouse, I should be inclined to think 
she is laughing at us all. But no, that is 
not possible. However, I am determined I 
will not stand it much longer. I shall go 
over to her father, and have a talk with 
him about it." 

It was the morning after Sir Hugh had 
come to this magnanimous resolve, and 
probably in consequence of the conviction 
that he was shortly about to have the solu- 
tion of the whole matter in his own hands 
by an interview with Lord Clifford, that he 
ventured for the first time to try a little 
bantering upon Teresa, when she came 
gliding into the room so noiselessly and 
gracefully. She kissed Lady Redcliffe as 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRANGE. 103 

she passed to her seat, and took her place 
as if she were rather a daughter of the 
house than a mere guest, shook hands with 
Sir Hugh and the girls, and just threw a 
kind little nod of recognition across the 
table to the anxious and dehghted Cecil. 
Sir Hugh had got through the more sub- 
stantial part of his breakfast, and was just 
finishing it off with the lighter refreshment 
of an egg, when this Httle scene passed 
before him. He sat watching her, with 
an arch smile irradiating his full good- 
humoured face. He watched her quiet 
ease, and noticed Cecil's tremour, and saw 
Lady Redcliffe's half-anxious glance, and 
then began : '' There you are again, Miss 
Teresa, fluttering down upon us like an 
eagle in a covey of partridges, and making 
us all quiver to the tips of our wings. I 
wonder if you mean always to be so quiet 
and calm, and to do such execution all the 
while." Teresa looked up in unfeigned 
surprise. 

" My dear Sir Hugh, what do you mean ? 



104 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Why do you call me an eagle ? Is it be- 
cause I am late for breakfast ? Has any- 
thing happened ?" she said, looking quickly 
round on the faces before her. 

'' Nothing has happened, my dear, more 
than happens every day, and all day. We 
are your very devoted servants, and you 
are a little queen, though you don't seem 
to know it. And there is one poor devil 
of a slave of yours, who, I think, will be 
coming to grief, if you don't put him out of 
his misery soon." 

As soon as Sir Hugh had begun his sen- 
tence, Cecil, with the quick instinct that 
more was coming than he could bear, had 
risen from his seat opposite Teresa's, and 
moved to the door. As he did so, Teresa 
saw that he was deadly pale, and as her 
eye met his troubled glance, she turned 
crimson, and looked down. Sir Hugh rose 
as he finished his speech, and came round 
to where she was sitting. He bent a mo- 
ment over her, and kissed her forehead, 
where the dark locks parted. 



FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE. 105 

" You must not mind what an old man 
says, my dear. Only we are all very fond 
of you, and that's all about it." And then 
with tears in his eyes, he turned round and 
followed his son out of the room. 

Poor Teresa ! she felt a choking sensation 
in her throaty and her little hands turned 
very cold and trembled. She made a vast 
and half ineffectual effort to finish her 
breakfast, and to speak wdthout her voice 
betraying the tears that she was keeping 
back. Lady Eedcliffe came to her aid^ with 
great presence of mind and motherly feel- 
ing, and in a few minutes Teresa seemed 
herself again, and spoke naturally and 
cheerfully ; but Lady Redcliffe's quick eye 
detected that she was paler than usual. 
Breakfast was very soon over, for Teresa's 
was spoiled by this little episode. The 
ladies stepped through the open window on 
to the terrace, and after giving as much 
•time and attention as good breeding re- 
quired to the remarks of her companions, 
and to the arrangements for spending the 



106 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

day, Teresa slipped away to her own room, 
and shut herself in. 

When the world came forth from the 
hands of its Creator there was no storm : 
the rain fell not, and the wind slept ; the 
lakes lay in liquid repose, and the trees and 
flowers painted their image without a break 
on the smooth waters that aptly mirrored 
the sky above so as to seem like a second 
heaven. The green sea lay for ever smiling 
beneath the moon and sun, like a dreaming 
child, and knew not its own depths. Inani- 
mate nature was still, save for the invisible 
progress of growth. But at the word of 
God the wind awoke, and unfolding its 
rustling wings, swept through the forests, 
and dashed upon the level waters. The 
trees shivered with the consciousness of a 
new force, revealing to them their strength 
and their flexibility. The sea cleft its 
waves, and discovered the glittering trea- 
sures of its own bosom. The lakes played 
with the painted images on their surface 
and broke them into rippling lines of light. 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRAXGE. 107 

The sleep of nature was over ; the stir of 
life had begun. Rashly and giddily, but 
wonderfully beautiful, the rush of action 
and motion evoked the hidden harmonies 
of creation, and brought forth fecundity 
and force. 

The maiden's heart is like the world 
before the wind awoke. But the first 
breath of love breaks its silence, and 
multiplies its action — for good or for evil. 

Teresa's first sensations on finding her- 
self alone were those simply of bewilder- 
ment and anxious surprise, as if a gulf 
had suddenly yawned at her feet. That 
anybody should fall in love with her was 
not a probability that ever entered into her 
day dreams ; that it should have happened 
without her even suspecting it, struck her 
as strange, and not what she would in her 
utter inexperience have expected ; and that 
she should have been the cause of this 
startling event in a family where she had 
been treated with such kindness, such affec- 
tion and confidence, filled her with shame 



lOS THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and regret, as though it had been her 
fault. 

But Teresa had from childhood learnt to 
read her own conscience, and to render an 
account to herself of her motives, strictly 
and as before God, and quite free from any- 
morbid self-introspection. She therefore 
soon grew calm upon this subject, and 
looking back upon all she had done was 
quite sure it was through no fault of hers 
if Cecil's peace had been disturbed by her 
presence. Having settled this question with 
herself, she began to scrutinize her own 
feelings towards him. Was she still quite 
heart-whole? Yes, quite! was the frank, 
unhesitating reply. She liked Cecil : she 
thought him a very good fellow ; she ad- 
mired his manly, honest character ; she 
was grateful to him for caring for her. If 
ever she wished to marry, and her father 
liked Cecil, he might be her choice as soon, 
nay in the absence of any other experience, 
sooner than any one else. But, on the 
other hand, she had no thought of marry- 



FRASCATI AND THE MANOR GRANGE. 109 

ing. Her heart was set solely and exclu- 
sively on bringing about greater happi- 
ness to her poor father in his own home. 
His welfare was her mission, and until that 
was accomplished she could think of no 
other. When her father no longer wanted 
her, perhaps she might marry. She did 
not know that she should; she thought 
perhaps she should not. Anyhow, her 
father's wishes would be a guide, and until 
then she might put aside the thought, and 
go back to her own home, and look after 
that solitary, melancholy man whose whole 
happiness seemed centred in her ; and 
thus by degTees Teresa grew quite calm 
again. The startled feelings had already 
worn off ; it ceased to feel extraordinary 
and wonderful that a man should care for 
her in that way, and the event took its 
place readily and easily in the well-assorted 
category of facts in her mind; which had 
each and all to be met with the quiet self- 
possession and simple sense of duty that 
formed her great characteristics. 



110 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

She at once made up her mind that 
she would return to her father. It would 
be awkward to remain any longer at the 
Manor Grange. It would look, after the 
fatal discovery she had made, as if she were 
waiting for Cecil to speak to her ; and 
she was somewhat anxiously turning in her 
thoughts how she should inform her father 
of her wish to go home, when a servant 
knocked at her door, to say a groom had 
ridden over from the castle with some 
letters for her. She found a letter from 
Eose, full of longing to return to England, 
and a few lines from her father, wanting to 
know when she would like to come back, 
and saying how he missed her. She imme- 
diately despatched the groom with a few 
lines in reply, stating she had been on the 
point of writing to tell him that she hoped 
he would send the carriage to fetch her the 
following niorning ; and assuring him that 
much as she had enjoyed her visit to the 
Redcliifes, she was looking forward to her 
happy evenings alone with him at the 



FRASCATI AXD THE MAXOR GRAXGE. Ill 

castle. This done, she communicated her 
intentions to Julie, and then, with rather 
a beating heart, and a shade of silence and 
timidity in her manner, she went down- 
stairs to join the others in the drawing- 
room. She at once told Lady Redcliffe she 
had heard from her father, and that as he 
was getting impatient for her return^ the 
carriage would fetch her the next day. 

Throughout the rest of the day an in- 
stinct of maidenly reserve kej)t Teresa very 
much by Lady RedclifPe's side. She was 
graver than usual_, but if possible, more 
sweet and childlike than ever, and when 
it came to the leave-taking the next day, 
nothing could be more artless than the affec- 
tionate gratitude with which she bade fare- 
well to her friends. Her manner was so 
kind that it might have meant everything, 
and yet it was so self-possessed and digni- 
fied, that it might mean just what she 
actually said, and no more. 

Sir Hugh saw the mistake he had made ; 
but now that it was done both he and Lady 



112 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

E-edcliffe agreed no real harm, could come of 
it, and there was time enough yet to play- 
out the game and win it in favour of Cecil, 
which they confidently hoped to do. 

Meanwhile, Cecil chewed the bitter-sweet 
cud of many fancies, and grew on that food 
into an older, a wiser, and a deeper man. 



113 



CHAPTER lY. 

THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 

Nearly three months elapsed from the 
date of Teresa's return to the castle before 
Lord Clifford and Rose reached England. 
The time passed in an even monotonous 
way, giving very little external evidence 
of the firm purpose that was carrying 
Teresa, day by day, through the difficulties 
of her position ; but working, as good 
always works, silently and hiddenly. 
Robert had returned to England, and 
though his father had procured him some 
nominal occupation in London, he had 
plenty of leisure to come down to Raymond 
Castle when he pleased. He did so several 
VOL. II. J. 



114 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

times, but never for long together. He 
found the old castle dull and dreary. He 
thought Teresa very beautiful, but she was 
too quiet to amuse him ; while between 
father and son there always appeared to be 
a kind of restraint ; a haughty reserve on 
the father's side and a sullen resentment on 
that of the son. Robert was undeniably 
handsome, and in colouring and features 
more like his uncle than his father. He 
had a clear grey eye^ not large but deep 
set, which latter appearance was increased 
by the peculiarity of the upper lid being 
drawn down past the outer corner of the 
eye itself ; a peculiarity which added dark- 
ness to his scowl, and seemed equally to con- 
tinue a line of light from the glistening eye 
when he laughed. Though his eyes were 
grey, and his hair a golden brown, his eye- 
brows were strongly marked — a comjoact 
clear line of thick dark hair. His lips were 
rather full, too much so for intellectual 
beauty. And when angry, his eyes seemed 
to turn into two balls of yellow flame, while 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 115 

in moments of repose the grey would 
deepen and soften into pale blue. 

He had retained and developed the cha- 
racteristics we have already noticed when 
he was a guest at his uncle's house. He 
was brilliant and sparkling in conversation, 
but not free from coarseness, and had cer- 
tainly less depth of intellect than his father^ 
and far fewer attainments. 

Mr. Cliiford seemed more indifferent to 
sport this autumn than usual, and more 
devoted to study. But Robert went out 
shooting daily^ and always accompanied by 
Yincenzo. Nor was this the only amuse- 
ment in which Yincenzo was called to aid 
and assist. If Robert was up late in the 
morning it might have been accounted for 
by his being frequently up late at night. 
He had converted the gun-room, close to the 
servants' offices and which had an entrance 
from the court-yard as well as a communica- 
tion with the house, into a den for himself, 
and more went on in that unhallowed retreat 
than was known to Mr. CHfford. 



116 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Yincenzo was butler as well as valet, 
and had full power over the cellars, even 
had he not had other resources at his com- 
mand. The grooms and general hangers- 
on of the castle were all partisans of Mr. 
Robert's ; and thought a young gentleman 
who would laugh and even drink with 
them, a very preferable master to the 
proud severe man whose bread they ate, 
and whose wages they pocketed. The 
greater number of them were ready at any 
moment to do their young master's bid- 
ding, and therefore no great difficulty was 
experienced in admitting privately some of 
the less respectable young men of the 
neighbourhood, to spend a not very quiet or 
sober evening with Mr. Robert, far into 
the little hours of the morning. 

Teresa had a vague instinct that matters 
were going on worse than her father 
thought; but whether Robert had suc- 
ceeded in keeping things so close that the 
upper servants in the house, who might 
Fiave betrayed him, really were not aware 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 117 

to what a pass things had got, or whether 
they only kept it from Mr. CHfford and 
Teresa for fear of annoying them, it is 
certain that Teresa really knew nothing, 
and Mr. Clifford next to nothing, of what 
went on. What he did know, or what he 
suspected, he kept to himself. He was 
afraid of attempting to draw the reins in 
too tight. Robert was past the age to be 
guided by his father; and remonstrance 
was more likely to end in an open quarrel 
and a breach between father and son than 
in anything else. This Mr. Clifford was 
very anxious to avoid, and besides there 
was Yincenzo in the background, and the 
thought of that man always gave Eoger a 
feeling of insecurity, even in connection 
with his own children. 

It was on a damp drizzling day, far into 
the month of October, that Lord Clifford and 
Rose returned to Nutley Hall. Teresa had 
been consulting with her father whether 
they should be there to welcome them on 
their arrival, or should call on them some 



118 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

hours after. Teresa had been in favour of 
being at the door to receive them ; but Mr. 
Clifford seemed to shrink from this, as so 
many Enghshmen would do from anything 
that looked like a demonstration. It ended 
in Teresa going there to meet her cousin, 
and Mr. Clifford promising to ride down to 
see his brother in the course of the even- 
ing. 

Teresa drove down to the hall in the 
pony-carriage, and spent some hours in a 
'jnelancholy way, walking round the rooms 
to see that everything looked home-like, 
and arranging some flowers in the vases as 
they used to be in her aunt's time. Over 
the mantlepiece in the drawing-room hung 
a beautiful picture of Lady Clifford by Sir 
Joshua Reynolds. Her dress was white, 
with that tawny-coloured scarf the great 
artist was so fond of painting, floating across 
it, and a red ribbon ran through the masses 
of her dark hair. Teresa could not look at 
the beauty of that face, so full of soul and 
intellect, revealing so wonderfully in its rich 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 119 

colouring the impassioned depth of the Italian 
woman's character^ without shedding tears ; 
and she wondered how Lord Clifford would 
ever bear to leave it still hanging there. 
Upon speaking to the housekeeper on the 
subject, she found that the second smaller 
room had been prepared for Lord Clifford, 
and that the faithful old servant, who 
mourned her beautiful mistress as truly as if 
she had been a relation of the family, only 
waited Teresa's advice to lock the drawing- 
room door, but leave the key in. " Then 
you know, miss, his poor lordship can either 
go in or not as he likes, without having to 
ring to have the room opened." 

At four o'clock the sound of wheels called 
Teresa to the front entrance. It was a sad 
and a silent meeting. Teresa waited in the 
porch ; as she did so she heard a step behind 
her. It was Father Netherby, very pale, 
and looking more full of kindness than 
ever. She knew that it was not out of 
place that he should be there to welcome 
home the bereaved man and the motherless 



120 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

girl. The servants had all gathered in a 
group at the end of the hall, dressed in deep 
mourning. Lord Clifford alighted first, but 
waited to assist Kose, who sprang forward 
into Teresa's arms. Lord Clifford advanced, 
so much thinner, so much older, than when 
he had gone away. His face ennobled by 
suffering, and the scantier locks round his 
brow giving a new and a grander character 
to his countenance. He held Teresa long 
in his arms, and called her his child. For 
a moment his step faltered, then laying his 
hand lightly, as if for support, on the priest's 
arm, he passed down the hall, bowing kindly 
but sadly to the dependants, and together 
with Father Netherby entered the library. 
Teresa drew Rose into the morning-room, 
after kissing Madame de Bray and her dear 
old nurse, who was shedding tears of 
mingled joy and sorrow. Lord Clifford 
remained a long time in the library with 
Father Netherby, and while there sent a 
message to his brother, to beg he would 
come to him at once. The priest was gone 



THE LAST BE-AT OF A NOBLE HEART. 121 

when Mr. Clifford arrived : the brothers 
wished to be alone. 

What changes had taken place in the 
characters of the two men since last they 
met ! Roger, as our readers are aware, had 
never been fond of Angela. But since he 
had parted with her he had lived a whole 
life, and his soul was seared with memories 
full of remorse. But at the same time a 
gentle home influence was evoking, even 
from the very consequences of his crime, 
better feelings than he had ever known 
when, as the cold sarcastic man of the 
world and the sceptical philosopher, he had 
shrunk from the bright intelligence and 
spotless candour of his sister-in-law. 

The jealousy of his character had dimi- 
nished as his ambition had died out. He 
was no longer good and great in his own 
estimation ; he was a miserable criminal, 
afraid of his own valet. The result was, he 
was more patient with Lord Clifford's pining 
grief than he could have found it possible to 
be in former days. And Lord Chfford, who 



122 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

more than ever needed his brother's stronger 
nature to lean upon, found him all and more 
than all he expected. Eoger soon perceived 
that his brother was powerless to act with- 
out him. Having for so long had the entire 
management of the Nutley estate under his 
control, Lord Clifford had to apply to him for 
information upon a variety of subjects ; and 
from that he went on to asking his advice, 
and finally to getting him to act for him. 
He never openly spoke to Roger about the 
cloud that had fallen on the latter, but he 
did everything that his superior position 
could effect towards putting forward his 
brother and testifying to the confidence he 
had in him. Nor was this without effect ; 
Lord Clifford was greatly beloved, and his 
popularity formed a panoply for his brother, 
while Roger's own cleverness and tact did 
the rest. 

It soon became evident that Lord Clif- 
ford's health was not what it had been. He 
was easily wearied by any bodily exertion, 
and never having been a man of much read- 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 123 

ing, he was apt to be bored when stopping 
at home. He grew very dependent upon 
the presence of Eose, his brother, and 
Teresa, but his old anxieties about Robert 
seemed to have died out. His nephew was 
very little associated in his mind with recol- 
lections of Angela, and now everything was 
measured by that standard. The conse- 
quence was that Eobert was less pressed by 
his father than usual to remain at the castle, 
the nominal occupation in London acquired 
importance in proportion, and the young 
scapegrace found it convenient to spend the 
greater part of his time away from home. 

The confidence between Lord CHfford and 
Roger seemed to embrace all subjects save 
two. Lord Clifford never asked Roger how 
it had happened that the neighbours avoided 
him. And Roger never spoke to Lord 
Clifibrd of the anxiety caused him by his 
son. Upon all other family matters they 
talked without reserve. Even Teresa's visit 
to the Manor Grange, and his hopes about 
Cecil Redcliffe, and his talk with Sir Hugh 



124 THE BUCKLTX SHAIG. 

(for the baronet had really carried out his 
threat, and was greatly pleased with himself 
when he had done so, as it convinced him 
that Mr. Clifford wished for the marriage, 
but was in no hurry to part with Teresa, and 
seemed to think it would not do to press 
her for an answer at present), all were dis- 
cussed. 

When Roger questioned Lord Clifford as 
to whether he had thought of an alliance for 
Eose, the answer was evasive. He thought 
Rose too young for the question to be 
mooted yet — forgetting that his own wife 
was barely sixteen when he married her. 
As he kept nothing secret from Roger, he 
was as open upon his political opinions as on 
all else ; and strange to say, Roger fell back 
upon the family politics as quietly as if his 
former ambition had never made him im- 
patient of the yoke they, together with the 
old faith, imposed upon him. 

And so the autumn glided by, and the 
crisp frost came down one night upon the 
garden flowers, and turned them suddenly 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 125 

into black decay. The winter set in early 
and severe. The master of the hounds 
seldom appeared at the head of his pack. 
When he did, Eoger was with him ; when 
he did not, Roger often took his place ; and 
so the two brothers welded together, utterly 
dissimilar in character, and yet becoming 
more and more necessary to each other; 
and Roger unconsciously growing a better 
man beneath the influence of the weaker 
mind, but the purer heart of his elder 
brother. 

Rose and Teresa were very constant com- 
panions, and mutually supported and con- 
soled each other in their sad bereavement. 
For some time after they returned home 
they received no guests at Nutley Hall ; but 
by degrees Lord Clifford asked first one and 
then another of his old friends to dine with 
him. And when he did so, Teresa at least 
was always present, and sometimes her 
father. On one occasion he invited Sir 
Hugh and Cecil Redchffe, and without 
telling Teresa whom she was to meet he had 



126 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

begged her father to bring ber. He 
seemed to have done this that he might 
judge for himself how the question stood 
between the young people. But if it were 
not difficult for him to pronounce on Cecil's 
feelings, his calm, dignified little niece be- 
trayed no more than her usual vivacity and 
her universally pleasing manners. He 
spoke to Roger about it afterwards, but 
got no further answer than that it would 
not do to hurry Teresa. She was not like 
other girls, and, besides, he was in no haste to 
lose her ; indeed it would be quite impossible 
for him to part with her : his home was sad 
enough at any time, he said, with an un- 
wonted expression of feeling ; but it would 
be intolerable without Teresa. 

The winter passed on with few events to 
mark its course. The various members of 
the family — at least the older and more 
observant ones — were a little anxious about 
Lord Clifford. He seemed to have suddenly 
subsided into an old man, and there was an 
inertness about his movements that brought 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 127 

to Madame de Bray's recollection the many 
times the late Lady Clifford had alluded to 
the Chffords being a short-lived family, and 
to the vague and apparently unreasonable 
apprehension she always had that her hus- 
band would die in the prime of life, like so 
many of his ancestors. Madame de Bray 
spoke to Mr. Clifford about it. He seemed 
struck by her words, but made very little 
remark beyond expressing his opinion that 
as his brother appeared to have lost his 
taste for hunting, the winter weather was 
tedious to him, and that he would improve 
in the spring. But the spring came, and 
brought no change. Roger spoke to his 
brother about his health, and advised his 
seeing a medical man. Lord Clifford 
laughed, and said he had never had a 
doctor in his Hfe, and had too little faith in 
them to begin now. He assured Roger he 
was quite well. 

" Only a little down-hearted, you know, 
my dear fellow ; and there is no cure for 
that. It is very kind of you to give up as 



128 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

much of your time as you do to a stupid 
man like me. I never was a great scholar as 
you are, Eoger, and, perhaps, from coming 
into the property so early in life, and being 
left an orphan when I was only fifteen, I had 
not so many advantages in that way. You 
ought to have been the elder son, Roger ; 
you have more ambition than I, and would 
have made a better head of the family. It 
is a fine thing to have ambition, Eoger ; 
only you see, situated as we are, there is 
very little field for a Catholic nobleman in 
this country. You would have made the 
most of whatever there is, if you had been 
in my place ; and, perhaps, you would have 
done more in the royal cause as well, than 
with the best will I have : not but what 
that is a lost cause, anyhow. I have lived 
long enough to know that. It might yet 
have been saved, Eoger, if we had had 
noble-hearted men like you in a position like 
mine. I have been the wrong man in the 
wrong place, and you would have been just 
the reverse." 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEAPa'. 129 

And so the generous man talked on, full 
of the three great faiths of all manly, brave, 
and generous hearts : faith in their God ; 
faith in their princes ; and faith in their own 
kith and kin. The blood runs thin in de- 
generate veins that does not make the heart 
beat hotter for those of its own race. He 
is worse than an infidel who does not care 
for his own. 

About the first week in May, the Catholic 
Yicar Apostolic had occasion to visit that 
part of his extensive diocese, and Lord CHf- 
ford being the leading Catholic of the place, 
it was of course to his house that Dr. 
Challoner was invited. 

Secretly as even in those days all ecclesi- 
astical matters had to be conducted (for as 
late as 1804 there were not unfrequent 
instances of Cathohcs being fined for not 
attending the Protestant services, the penal 
laws being still in force, though not fully 
carried out), still the presence of the Yicar 
Apostolic was an occasion which brought all 
the Catholics together from tar and near ; 

VOL. II. K 



130 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and for a week Nutley Hall was filled up 
with a succession of very quiet guests, 
who came rather to do honour to the Yicar 
Apostolic than for amusement. 

Teresa spent the whole of the time at the 
hall, and it was partly in consequence of 
some remarks made to the vicar by Father 
Netherby, and partly from his own observa- 
tion of her sweet expression and winning 
manner, that the vicar took especial notice 
of our young heroine. Teresa, with her 
usual practical good sense, made the most of 
this opportunity. Where her own higher 
interests, or those of others, were concerned, 
she was too simple and too much in earnest 
to be checked by ill-timed shyness, and, 
therefore, finding the good old man kindly 
disposed towards her, she opened her whole 
heart to him, and in more than one long 
private conversation, talked to him of her- 
self, of hcj father, and of all her home diffi- 
culties and trials. He not only gave her 
great encouragement and much valuable 
advice, but he bade her remember that any 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 131 

moment she was at liberty to avail herself 
of his services if she wished to apply to 
him ; and he even begged her to let him 
hear from time to time of how matters were 
going on with respect to herself and her 
father. 

Mr. Clifford had been more than once to 
Nutley Hall during Dr. Challoner's visit, 
and had shown that perfect high breeding, 
and that polished manner of a man of the 
world who had lived much in foreign 
courts, though excluded from that of his 
own country, which never failed to make 
him agreeable to strangers. 

Before leaving Nutley Hall, the Yicar 
Apostolic had spoken very particularly to 
Father Netherby respecting Teresa, com- 
mending her in a special manner to his 
care as a daughter of his own, in whose 
welfare he took a deep interest. He did 
this more as an expression of his own 
marked regard for Teresa, than because it 
was needed. Father Netherby having an 
affection and an esteem for Teresa tliat 



132 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

required no recommendation from another 
to increase it. 

It was not known till long afterwards, 
when the Yicar Apostolic mentioned the 
fact, that during his stay at Niitley Hall, 
Lord Clifford had spoken much of him- 
self, and had strongly expressed to him, the 
Yicar Apostolic, a notion that he should 
not be long in this world, and altogether 
had spoken as a man would do who was 
daily accustoming himself to the approach 
of death, and preparing for the event. 

The pleasure grounds and shrubberies 
connected with Nutley Hall were of very 
great exent^ and at their limits touched 
upon thick woods stretching far away, and 
on one side little broken by cultivation for 
more than a mile. This quiet part had been 
always a favourite resort of the two girls, 
and they were in the habit of leaving home 
early with their books and their work, and, 
some slight refreshment in a basket, and, 
sometimes accompanied by Madame de 
Bray and sometimes alone, spending the 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 133 

whole day in the woods from breakfast to 
dinner. Eose's constant invitations to 
Teresa, to come to Nutley Hall for a few 
nights, were generally sent upon the plea 
that she " wanted to have another good 
spell at our forest life," which was the term 
they gave it. They were not content to 
remain within the bounds of the pleasure 
grounds. Rose always persisted that she 
wanted to get beyond cultivation and con- 
ventionalities, and be out in the trackless 
woods free as a bird. Teresa would remark 
that they enjoyed this with mitigations, 
seeing that a servant in livery carried a 
variety of rugs and an excellent cold 
luncheon to refresh them in their savao^e 
state ; but with this difference, and perhaps 
in consequence of it, they managed to spend 
some very happy days with a great deal of 
innocent and natural pleasure. 

The trio were seated together beneath 
the flickeringshade of some white-stemmed 
beech trees, and talking over some French 
poetry to which Teresa had just been doing 



134 THE BUCKLYN SEAIG. 

full justice with her perfect French and the 
delicate inflexions of her beautiful voice, 
when Madame de Bray's attention was 
arrested by seeing two eyes eagerly watch- 
ing them from a thicket not far off. She 
got up and approached towards the spot, 
and as she did so, perceived a shabby- 
looking man not dressed in an ordinary 
English peasant's dress but with something 
foreign in his appearance, lurking behind 
the underwood. She called out in English 
to inquire what he wanted, but without 
making any reply he started from his lair, 
and hurried away into the forest behind 
them. 

" What is it, madame ?" exclaimed both 
the girls in a breath. 

" Some poor man hiding there," she 
replied. " I dare say it is only one of the 
charcoal burners. There are many of them 
in this forest. They lead a wild sort of 
nomad life, and see so little of any but 
themselves, that they are almost as timid as 
the wild animals." 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 135 

'' But he was so oddly dressed," said 
Rose, " and he did not look English." 

" I did not remark that," said Madame 
de Bray. '^ He certainly had a beard, but 
I do not suppose the charcoal burners have 
many opportunities for shaving." 

"I remember one day," said Teresa, 
" when I was riding with my father, coming 
upon one of their encampments in the 

forest of C , the other side of the 

hill. They looked so picturesque, but 
rather wild, and something like banditti. 
There was a huge pile of wood in small 
pieces slowly smouldering near, and my 
father showed me other parts of the forest 
where the ground is all charred and black- 
ened in the circular space where they had 
erected one of their burning piles." 

"Now, Teresa," said Eose, laughing, 
"that is just what would suit me. Do 
let us turn charcoal burners, and live in 
the forest. We will hang our kettle on 
three sticks, and I will blow the fire 
when we want to have some tea; and 



13G THE BtCKLYN SHAIG. 

Madame de Bray must wear a red cloak, 
because it looks so pretty among the green 
boughs." 

''Meanwhile," said Teresa, "here is 
James come to announce the ringing of the 
dressing-bell, and as I don't think you are 
at all likely to live only on tea, my little 
Rosy, we must for the present put off be- 
coming charcoal burners." 

The whole party returned to the house ; 
the apparition of the strange man in the 
thicket was thought to be thoroughly ac- 
counted for, and nothing more was said 
about it. 

A day or two passed without the girls 
renewing their bivouac in the forest. But 
at last the white glimmer in the morning 
air prognosticating a hot day. Rose proposed 
that they should go back to their woodland 
haunts. Teresa was willing ; Madame de 
Bray had a headache, and was to be ex- 
cused. The little furniture of their forest 
boudoir was soon arranged as usual by 
James, and the two girls, half sitting, half 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 137 

reclining, were silently reading or meditat- 
ing, through the long, hot hours, sometimes 
talking to each other of what they were 
reading, sometimes strolling a little further 
into the woods, and plucking a few wild 
strawberries, or gathering specimens of ferns. 

The sun was beginning to decline, and 
the shadows were becoming narrow and 
gigantic, when Rose was startled by finding 
a dark shade pass over the page of her 
book, thrown by some object suddenly 
standing between her and the red setting 
sun. She looked quickly round, and there 
stood the supposed charcoal burner of their 
previous visit to the forest. Eose uttered 
an exclamation, and Teresa, rising from 
her seat at a little distance, approached and 
asked the man what he wanted. To their 
surprise he merely shook his head as if he 
did not understand the question, and then 
in very good French begged to know which 
was Miss Clifford. 

" We are both Miss Clifford," said Teresa. 
" What do you want with us ?" 



138 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

" Which," replied the man, " is the 
daughter of the man who Hves in the castle ?" 

'^ I am," said Teresa. " What is your 
business ?" 

" If you are his child, it is to the other 
young lady I wish to speak," said the man ; 
*^ I want to see your father, the English 
lord." 

«« Why do not you go to the house then ?" 
said Eose, colouring with natural alarm at 
the wild, strange-looking man. . 

" Because," replied the Frenchman, " the 
servants would drive me from the door. I 
have lain in wait for you here more than a 
week. I should have spoken to you the last 
evening you sat here had you not had that 
lady with you. I will see Lord Clifford, and 
if I cannot see him I will see your father," 
added he, turning fiercely to Teresa, " and 
then it will be the worse for you all." 

'* You had better come to the house with 
us, and if you really have any business with 
Lord Clifford, no doubt you can have an 
interview with him '* said Teresa. 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 139 

" But I will only go if you promise me I 
shall be admitted. I am not going to sub- 
mit to being turned from the house like a 
dog, or sent to prison. I am afraid to go to 
the castle," said the man, in an odd, dreamy 
way, half to himself, '^ or . I would do the 
whole thing at once, and tell Mr. Clifford." 

The conversation had been carried on in 
French. Teresa, turning to Eose, said in 
English, with a smile : 

" We had better make him walk back 
with us, for fear he should have a design 
upon the silver spoons we used at luncheon." 

Eose did not seem to like the companion- 
ship, but there was no help for it ; and as 
they advanced to the house she decided 
upon tapping at the window of her father's 
study, that opened into the garden, and so, 
if he were in the room, explaining at once 
their strange adventure, and leaving him to 
act as he thought best. 

They walked quickly on in silence, the 
man following in a sauntering, half-deter- 
mined way behind. 



140 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

" I do not think he is quite right in his 
head," said Teresa. " There does not seem 
to be any harm in him, and he looks half 
silly." 

*' He frightens me dreadfully," said Rose 
in a half-hysterical voice, and seeing her 
father's study window open, she darted away 
like a bird, and flew into the room. By the 
time Rose had partially explained to Lord 
Clifford what had happened Teresa appeared 
at the open window, having desired the 
man to wait a few paces off. Her account 
was calmer and more comprehensible than 
Rose's, and when she added : 

" He says, if he does not see you he will 
see my father, and then it will be the worse 
for us all !" a slight shade passed over Lord 
Clifford's face at these words. 

" I will see him, my dear child," said her 
uncle ; " I dare say he is only a poor tramp, 
intending to beg for money, and thinking 
to enforce his claims by a threat. As the 
man is already here you need not say 
anything about it to the servants, and 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 141 

now run away, both of you, while I call 
him in." 

The girls obeyed, and as soon as the door 
closed on them a strange instinct made him 
turn the key to prevent his interview with 
the beggar being interrupted, and then 
approaching the window he beckoned to the 
man to advance. 

An hour after, the servant came to the 
door to announce dinner ; it was still locked. 
Lord Clifford opened it, and the servant 
perceived that his master was deadly pale. 
He was not dressed for dinner. In the grate 
lay the black thin ashes of some paper that 
had been burnt. The servant's attention 
was called to it, because in burning the 
paper the fuel in the grate had accidentally 
caught fire, and some had been raked out 
to extinguish it, so that the grate was un- 
tidy, and the servant had to re-arrange it. 
He said nothing of this at the time, attach- 
ing no importance to it, but he remembered 
it afterwards. 

Lord Clifford came late to dinner, and as 



142 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

he entered the room where the three ladies 
were waiting for him, he desired the groom 
of the chambers to send a servant with the 
gig to the chapel-house to beg Father 
Netherby would return in the gig, as he 
wanted to see him, and hoped he would stop 
the night. 

Lord Clifford was very silent at dinner. 
When he joined the ladies in the drawing- 
room, and, noticed that Madame de Bray 
was not there, he told the two girls that the 
beggar was a poor Frenchman, who had 
been servant to a gentleman who knew 
something of the Clifford family, and that 
being now out of a place, and wanting to 
return to his own country, he had come to 
beg. 

" I gave him enough to take him back. 
I do not think he is quite right in his mind ; 
he seems half-witted. No one saw him 
about the place save us three, and I do not 
wish his visit talked of." 

Father Netherby arrived shortly after, 
and he and Lord Clifford retired to the 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 143 

study together. Eose and Teresa remem- 
bered in after days how affectionately he 
had taken leave of them that night, but 
particularly Teresa; as he kissed her, he 
said : 

" Why did not your father come to 
dinner to-night, Teresa ? You must tell him 
to-morrow that I miss him. Poor Roger ! 
he must be dull up there in the castle by 
himself." 

Father Netherby and Lord Clifford sat 
up very late together that night. The next 
morning the priest said mass in the chapel 
at Nutley Hall, and then returned to his 
own house. 

Whatever the conversation was that kept 
the reverend father and Lord Clifford se 
deeply engaged far into the night, it did not 
comprise the full particulars of the latter's 
interview with his mysterious visitor. 

It sometimes happens that a man may go 
on for years steadily refusing to believe the 
evidence ' /f a fact which would distress him 
if he oncfc opened his mind to conviction, 



144 THE BUCKLYN SHAIO. 

and he is able to do so with perfect success, 
really believing what he means to believe, 
and utterly ignoring what he does not 
choose to know. Nevertheless, he carries 
about with him an innate instinct, which lies 
quite dormant in his soul till a trifle, per- 
haps light as air, wakes up his latent per- 
ceptions, and suddenly, before he is aware 
of any mental process by which he has 
arrived at conviction, the truth stands full 
before him. After that, self-deception is no 
longer possible — at least not possible to the 
extent it once was. 

Lord Clifford had never believed anything 
against Roger. If he were told Eoger 
gambled, he took it as an idle report. When 
it was proved to him that he retained a 
worthless swindler like Yincenzo in his 
service, he blamed the servant, but not the 
master ; in short, any accusations brought 
against his younger brother glided out of 
his mind like drops of rain on the white 
plumage of the swan. Nevertheless, when 
Teresa uttered those few words about the 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 145 

strange man, " He says, if he does not see 
you he will see my father, and then it will 
be the worse for us all," instantly the con- 
viction started up, whole and entire, that 
something in the reports about Roger was 
true. Hence his quick instinct of locking 
the door, and preparing to battle it out with 
the man alone. It was well that he did so, 
his presence of mind enabled him, under 
the favourable circumstances that so 
strangely surrounded what might other- 
wise have proved a very embarrassing, if 
not fatal discovery, to continue and profit 
by that wonderful patience of Providence 
that left the guilty man so long in security. 
Our readers will remember the letter so 
cautiously committed to the postboy's bag 
by Henry Bethune, on that fatal night of 
the murder.; that letter was addressed to 

the Count de Gr , in Paris. The count 

was a dissolute companion of Henry Beth- 
une's, younger than himself, and, if possible, 
more reckless. The very night that letter 
reached Paris and lay in the general post- 

VOL. II. L 



146 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

office, waiting to be sorted, till the morning 
broke, the count had had a quarrel with 
another man upon a miserable question of 
jealousy respecting an opera dancer. He and 
his adversary met the following morning by 
daybreak, in the Bois de Boulogne, and the 
unfortunate young count was brought home 
to his apartment bleeding to death, with a 
ball through his left lung. The count was 
not in the habit of having his letters 
brought to the house, for reasons best 
known to himself, but always gave his 
address at one of the cafes in the Boulevard 
des Italiens. He had attached to his 
service, for at least some hours of the day, 
a young man who was half-groom, half- 
lacquey, and whose business it was to call 
daily at the cafe for the count's letters on 
his way from his own lodging to the count's 
apartment. The morning of the duel he 
had done so as usual, and the only letter he 
had found was the one from Henry Bethune. 
He put it into his pocket, and continued 
his course to the house where the count 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 147 

lodged. On arriving there he found every- 
thing in the greatest confusion, as the 
wretched man had expired a few moments 
before, and everybody was in consternation 
and horror — the poHce agents in the house, 
the doctor and a few friends still standing 
round the corpse. The end of it was that 
the man forgot all about the letter in his 
pocket now that he was no longer respon- 
sible to the person to whom it was ad- 
dressed. In assisting to move the body, 
the coat, in the pocket of which it was 
placed, had become stained with the un- 
fortunate man's blood, and when the serv- 
ant^ whose name was Louis, returned home 
he put away the coat till he could have it 
cleaned, and with it the letter, the very 
existence of which had escaped his memory. 
From one accident or another it was many 
months before Louis came across the coat 
and the letter again. When he did so he 
had completely lost sight of everybody in 
any way connected with the count, and 
having no one to give the letter to he had 



148 THE BTJCKLYN SHAIG. 

amused himself with breaking the seal, and 
reading it. Louis was not by any means 
a sharp man; he was one of those rather 
better than half-witted beings who are very 
slow in getting hold of an idea, extra- 
ordinarily tenacious of it when they have 
once done so, and very persevering in 
carrying out the end they propose to them- 
selves. But, like children and monkeys, 
the end is seldom proportioned to the de- 
gree of pertinacity with which they have 
followed it, and consequently they may 
often be cleverly induced to abandon their 
fixed notions for a quite inadequate result. 

It took a very long time for Louis to 
arrive at any conclusion respecting the 
singular letter of which he found himself 
the possessor. When he had formed to 
himself a distinct theory on the matter, it 
worked on his weak brain till it became the 
ruling idea of his life. He was acquainted 
with Henry Bethune much in the same way 
as he had been with the count, and he had 
frequently seen Eogci' Clifford with Bethune 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 149 

in Paris. He found that the letter indi- 
cated some possible danger to Bethune at 
the hands of Roger, in consequence of the 
former, as he stated in his letter, having 
won large sums from the latter. Bethune's 
never re-appearing in Paris, his friends 
being entirely at a loss to guess what had 
become of him, was all known to Louis 
through the servants of Bethune's former 
associates. As it happened, he had not 
found the letter in his forgotten coat-pocket 
till the nine days' wonder of the gambler's 
non-appearance had died out in Paris ; for 
a man like Henry Bethune was not likely 
to have many real friends, though he had 
scores of bad companions and associates. 
When, therefore, at last Louis came upon 
the old letter he did not think he could 
make any profitable use of it so long after 
date, amongst the people who had known 
Bethune, and whom also he had, since the 
count's death, himself lost sight of; but 
pondering over it in his half-witted way, it 
had dawned upon him that he might use it 



150 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

as a means of extorting money from the 
rich Enghsh milord at whose house it was 
written, and whose character was involved 
in its contents. 

He had bided his time, as our readers 
perceive, with the dull patience of his class, 
but he had never lost sight of the mer- 
cenary object he had in view. By degrees 
he had worked his way down to the coast, 
and crossed the channel in a trading vessel. 
He had gradually begged his way to the 
neighbourhood of the Cliffords, and there 
he had waited and watched, lurking about 
in all sorts of secret ways, and maturing his 
plans. He was not so utterly ignorant of 
the English language as he had pretended 
to be to Rose and Teresa, because formerly 
he had been intimate with an English 
servant of Bethune's, and had picked up a 
good many words. By this means he had 
obtained a clearer notion of the Clifford 
family than he possessed when he first set 
out on his strange mission. In the first 
place he had ascertained that Roger Clif- 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 151 

ford had an elder, and what was more to 
the purpose, a richer brother. Partly for 
this reason, and partly because his cunning 
was greater than his courage, he had re- 
linquished his original intention of going 
straight to Eoger, and thought that he was 
likely to succeed better in his only real 
object, that of securing a good sum of 
money, by going to Lord Clifford than by 
trying to get at Roger, of whom, on the 
whole, he felt the more afraid. 

Fortunately, Lord Clifford perceived at 
once the sort of man he had to deal with, 
half-knave^ half-fool, and he framed his 
course accordingly. He began by refusing 
to listen to one word the man had to say, 
or to attach any importance to his state- 
ments, until he had the letter to read in his 
own hands. Once he had it, he never in- 
tended to return it. There should be a 
struggle for life or death first. When he 
had got it, and read it, and had grasped 
in his mind, perfectly and at once, the im- 
mense importance of the imputations it 



152 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

contained, he turned round upon the craven 
fool before him, and without giving him a 
moment to reply, he set before him, in the 
clearest and most telling manner, the in- 
conceivable danger which he ran by the 
course he had adopted. He represented to 
him first, that he had violated the secrecy 
of a letter not addressed to himself; 
secondly, that though, of course, its con- 
tents were really perfectly innocuous, he 
had kept back this letter believing it to be 
of importance, and had ended by using it as 
a means of extorting money. He dwelt 
largely on his more than dubious position 
in England as a vagabond and a beggar, 
and assured him that the mere fact of the 
way in which he had stopped the Miss 
Cliffords in the forest made him obnoxious 
to the English laws. When he had tho- 
roughly cowed the man, he showed him 
that he was entirely at his mercy, and that 
nothing but compassion for him as a miser- 
able foreigner, unacquainted with the lan- 
guage, prevented him from giving him up 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 153 

to the laws of the country, to whosegaols he, 
Lord Clifford, might at any moment send 
him. As the poor caitiff cringed before 
him he so far changed his tone as to say he 
would not prosecute him upon the con- 
dition that, receiving sufficient money to 
carry him back to France, he promised 
forthwith to quit the country, of course 
leaving the letter behind. This merciful 
reprieve was backed by the assurance that 
Lord Clifford would not send the con- 
stables after him, but would so far have 
him watched as to know to a dead cer- 
tainty every step the wretched man took, 
until he had wisely and safely put the sea 
between himself and the Enghsh nobleman 
he had dared to intrude upon. The result 
was perfectly satisfactory. The timid 
foreigner was appalled by the prompt and 
dignified display of serious indignation 
manifested by Lord Clifford, and was only 
too grateful to be allowed to get safely 
away, not, however, without having re- 
ceived a sum of money, not large enough 



154 THE BUGKLYN SHAIG. 

to look like hush money, nor enough to 
realize his imaginings about making his 
fortune through this letter, but more than 
enough to take him back to France. 

Lord Clifford gave no more than the 
barest outline of the event to Father 
Netherby, merely saying there had called a 
foreign beggar whom, in consequence of 
his having stopped his daughter and niece 
in the forest, he had threatened with being 
taken up. That he. Lord Clifford, wanted 
to be sure the fellow was gone, but did not 
wish to put any of his servants to watch 
him, and so begged Father Netherby to get 
that service done him by some of his people. 
The rest of his long interview with Father 
Netherby was on other matters. 

This was the letter Lord Clifford read 
with a beating heart, and the black ashes 
of which the servant remarked in the grate 
some hours after. 



the last beat of a noble heart. 155 

" My dear Couxt, 

" You have lost your wager. You bet 
me ten to one that our friend CHfiford's good 
luck would follow him from Paris to his 
gloomy, damp, old castle, and that I should 
never regain the thousands I lost to him in 
the spring. 

" I came here on Tuesday last. I leave 
before daybreak to-morrow, and shall have 
the pleasure of adding your little bet to the 
thousands I have filched the old boy of 
here. I have got promissory notes in his 
hand safely packed in that little gold- 
clasped pocket-book you so well know — 
that doubles, ay, trebles, what I lost. I 
am half tempted to a faint feeling of remorse, 
therefore, can't be out of this lumbering 
old rat-hole too soon. 

" I ought, wind and weather permitting, 
to be in Paris by latest on Wednesday. 
Look out f 01' me — Clifford looks, to me, more 
than half-beside himself / do not drink his 
coffee to-night ! I saw him pour it out ! ! In 



156 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

a few more hours I shall be out of this 
place. If I do not reach Paris in safety, 
have me cried by the town crier. 

" Seriously, I shall be glad when the sea 
rolls between me and my old, ruined friend ! 
So much for friendship ! Au revoir, 

" Yours, 

" H. Bethune." 

The morning after this event the girls 
were made rather uneasy by noticing some- 
thing peculiar in Lord Clifford's appear- 
ance. He looked unusually ill ; there was 
a dark blue mark round his eyes, his face 
was very pale^ and there was an involun- 
tary and constant twitch in his mouth. He 
frequently raised his hand to his head, and 
though not irritable — that he never was 
now — there was something quick and 
vibrating in his tone of voice. 

Lord Clifford spent the long morning, 
and late on into the afternoon alone in his 
study and waiting for Mr. Bell, the family 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 157 

lawyer, whom be had sent the carriage to 
fetch from Blackdean. 

He had gone through an amount of 
mental suffering since the beggar had stood 
in that room the evening before, which no 
words could picture. In his first agony a 
full conviction of Eoger's guilt had forced 
itself upon him. He could not see his way 
out of the difficulty. Of course the letter 
did not prove that Eoger had murdered 
Bethune, but it proved what Lord Clifford 
had never before believed — that Roger's 
mode of life laid him open to grave im- 
putations, and that he had gambled so 
deeply and lost so much as to make it his 
interest to get Henry Bethune made away 
with. 

It was agony ; such agony as only a 
very generous and trusting nature could 
know — and, alas ! a nature like that could 
perhaps never know it but once ; for 
such great faith when broken is destroyed 
for ever, and no more such trust can live 
again. • 



158 THE BUCKLYN^ SHAIG. 

He hid his face in his hands and wept 
as children weep, when, in their inexperi- 
ence of sorrow, an unHmited grief seems to 
break in upon their summer-day of life. 
He went back in memory and without 
intending to do so, to their earliest boy- 
hood ; and while Roger stood before his 
thoughts then, covered with the suspicions 
created by that letter, in imagination Lord 
Clifford was seeing the "little Roger" of 
former times : taught by his elder brother 
to ride his first pony ; screened by his elder 
brother from the penalties due to his child- 
ish tricks, sleeping in the same room with 
him, reading in the same book with him ; 
the inseparable companion in all sports, 
and in the elder brother's eyes so much 
the superior. By degrees the images of 
the beloved past crowded so thick upon 
him that, also without his intending it, 
they had overshadowed the present and 
made it seem faint and unreal. The old 
love was too strong to be blotted out or 
even long obscured, and the subtle reasoning 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 159 

of affection began its eloquent appeals 
against the evidence before him. 

He was obliged to admit that Roger was 
a gambler ; so, he argued, were many 
others, as excellent men in other respects 
as Roger. It was to be regretted, but it 
was not, after all, so much to be wondered 
at : Roger's great talents had needed a 
wider range of action than what circum- 
stances put within tis reach, and thus 
crushed and cramped, his energies had 
found vent in what was less commendable. 
He had evidently lost heavily — how much 
Lord Clifford could not guess. " Poor 
fellow ! he was the more to be pitied. If I 
had only known it sooner, and come to the 
rescue !" exclaimed the noble-hearted man, 
as he pondered over the broken pieces of 
his poor idol. But then came the horror 
of associating Roger with the crime of 
murder merely because a cold-blooded 
villain had won his money, and so chose 
to insinuate his life was in jeopardy ! It 
was infamous, cruel, shameful in the ex- 



160 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

treme. And upon this thought, as upon a 
war-horse, generosity and affection mounted 
in hot haste_, and trampHng down all other 
considerations, rode triumphant off the field. 

His cheek glowed as he thought with 
rage upon the miserable gossiping injus- 
tice of the neighbours, who had been 
whispering away Roger's reputation. He 
would have done battle with each one of 
them, could he have challenged them all 
singly. That being impossible, he inter- 
nally bound himself to take his brother's 
part in every possible way, and to make his 
confidence in him known and appreciated. 

Then came all the reflection upon ways 
and means ; and, finally, besides con- 
tinually making his brother his constant 
adviser in all questions concerning the 
estate, he resolved upon leaving him a sum 
of twenty thousand pounds, which was to 
go to his daughter Teresa on his death, and 
a further sum of ten thousand pounds to 
Teresa, immediately on his own death. 
And lastly^ as the greatest proof of con- 



THE LAST BEAT OF A NOBLE HEART. 161 

fidence, esteem, and affection possible, lie 
decided on Eoger's being sole guardian of 
Kose, in case of bis dying before Rose 
married ; wbile tbe whole of the immense 
property was to revert to Roger and bis 
heirs in the event of Rose dying without 
children. 

Robert was not mentioned. Whether, 
in the excitement of generosity, he con- 
templated the probability of Rose marry- 
ing Robert (a dispensation being obtained? 
the possibilities of which we have already 
seen discussed), did not appear. The pro- 
bability is, that it was in his mind, but the 
law of the Church with regard to the mar- 
riage of cousins being what it is, of course 
he could not go the length of alluding to it 
in a testamentary document. 

Everything was done promptly and de- 
cidedly. Mr. Bell had not been consulted ; 
he had only received instructions with 
respect to the drawing up of those im- 
portant codicils ; and nothing would satisfy 
Lord Clifford but to have it all settled at 

VOL. II. M 



162 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

once, and the necessary signatures affixed ; 
and it was done. 

An immense weight seemed removed 
from Lord Clifford's mind after all was 
concluded ; but at the same time he ap- 
peared physically weary, and spent the 
remaiuder of the day with the two girls, 
making kind little playful remarks they 
remembered long after ; but also sitting 
silent for long together, his eyes fixed on 
Rose or Teresa ; and three times he asked 
the latter if she were quite sure her father 
was coming to dine and sleep. In spite of 
her answers in the affirmative, he ended in 
despatching a messenger to inquire, and 
was only satisfied when the reply came that 
Mr. Clifford would be there at half-past six, 
without fail. 

After dinner the two brothers sat the 
evening together. There was something 
remarkably gentle and affectionate in Lord 
Clifford's manner, but also a feebleness in 
his way of moving that particularly struck 
Eoger. 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 163 

Lord Clifford had a habit at times of 
pacing the room slowly, and occasionally 
stopping to resume the conversation, and 
then pacing again. He had been walking 
up and down some time in silence when he 
abruptly stopped, and said, 

" Eoger, you never play now, do you ?" 
" No, George ; why do you ask ?" 
" I thought you did not, but I wanted to 
be sure. Are you in any money embarrass- 
ment now, Roger ?" 

" No. I was ; but it has come round." 
" I am glad to hear it. If you were, you 
would, I am sure, let me know ; I count on 
your doing that, and not keeping it secret 
from me under any circumstances. I wish 
you had always done so, my dear fellow. 
But perhaps it was my fault for not in- 
quiring." 

" Not at all, George, not at all ;" stam- 
mered Eoger, with emotion. 

" It is a great comfort to me seeing you 
settled at the castle," continued Lord Clif- 
ford ; ^' if anything were to happen to me, 



164 THE BUCKLYN SHAIU. 

Roger, I should leave everything in trust 
to you — everything r he added with em- 
jihasis, but could not bring himself to name 
Rose. '' I used at one time to be afraid that 
our opinions were not quite the same on all 
subjects. Perhaps it was your living so 
much abroad that made me lose sight of 
you a little ; but now I see I was mistaken, 
and I am very glad of it. I trust every- 
thing to you, which is a great comfort to 
me. 

Roger saw his brother was speaking 
under a very strong impression, and had too 
much tact to interrupt him with any com- 
mon-place reply. He listened in grave 
silence, and as Lord Clifford finished he 
paused opposite the chair on which Roger 
sat, and for a moment took his hand in 
both his and pressed it. 

It was going a great way in demonstra- 
tive affection between two calm English- 
men, and Roger was much moved, and 
actually, for one moment, he bent his head, 
and his lips touched his brother's hand : 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 165 

and then both men recovered themselves. 
But Eoger was very pale, and Lord Clif- 
ford flushed like a man in weak health who 
had over-exerted himself. 

They both retired to rest about eleven 
o'clock. Lord Clifford's bedroom was on 
the ground-floor, and opened into his study. 
He dismissed his valet in a short time, and 
taking a book, sat down in the arm-chair, 
desiring the man, however, not to go to 
bed, as he should ring in about half an 
hour for a glass of wine. The man waited 
above the half-hour, and began to wonder 
whether or no his master had fallen asleep. 
This he ended in doing himself. When 
he awoke it was half-past twelve, and he 
thought he had better go and see whether 
Lord Clifford wanted him again. He 
knocked at the study-door, and received 
no answer. At last he entered the room. 
Lord Clifford was sitting in the arm-chair, 
with his head hanging over the left arm of 
the chair in what appeared a most un- 
comfortable position. The servant thought 



166 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

it better to rouse hini, and for that purpose 
called him, then touched the hand falling 
over the arm of the chair, and which was 
icy cold. Getting alarmed, he raised the 
head of the apparently sleeping man, and 
was struck with horror at finding that 
Lord Clifford was not asleep, but had had 
a stroke ; he uttered a faint moan as the 
servant lifted his head, but remained un- 
conscious. Open on the floor lay the 
prayer-book that had fallen from his hand. 
The servant hastened to Mr. Clifford's 
room, and called the housekeeper and 
Madame de Bray. Roger had, with the 
aid of the butler, carried the senseless form 
to the bed in the adjoining room, and in- 
stantly dismissed two messengers for the 
medical man and the priest. 

Madame de Bray would not allow Rose 
to be disturbed when she was herself called 
to the sick man's room. He remained 
perfectly unconscious ; and until she could 
judge how the case was likely to end, she 
shrank from rousing the poor girl, to stand 



THE LAST BEAT OF A XOBLE HEART. 167 

and watch the harrowing sight of her 
father lying speechless and senseless. 

Towards daybreak, there came a change. 
The sick man opened his eyes, and seeing 
Eoger and Father Netherby standing by 
him, faintly smiled. He gave his hand to 
Eoger, and feebly pressed that of his 
brother, and then by signs, made him 
understand that he wished to be alone with 
Father Netherby. Signs alone could pass 
between the dying man and the priest. He 
could not articulate ; but he heard and 
understood all. Then the weeping girls 
and the household gathered around the 
bed, and the last solemn rites of the dying 
were performed. 

The end^ however, had not come yet. 
For twenty-four hours more, silent but con- 
scious, he lay in the presence of those who 
loved him. The blue eyes looked wistfully 
round on the dear faces that bent over him, 
and the one hand that he could still use 
feebly, grasped the hand of Eoger or of 
Eose. But of Eoger above all, and that 



168 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

with so plaintively affectionate an expres- 
sion in his face, that it was as if while life 
lasted he would go on making acts of faith 
in his brother, and protesting by the tena- 
city of his affection against all harsh judg- 
ments, or all unkind suspicions. Surely, 
love such as this is an all-prevailing prayer. 
Surely, when God implants such faithful- 
ness in the weak heart of man, it is that 
the Divine heart out of the riches of His 
mercy is yearning to supply for the help- 
lessness of human love, and do what we 
can only wish to do for the welfare of the 
beloved object ! 

Gently, but peacefully^ with still speak- 
ing eyes, but silent lips_, the noble, child- 
like man passed down " into the valley of 
the shadow of death," with unfaltering 
steps^ and died as he had lived, full of faith 
and hope.. 



169 



CHAPTER V. 

DULL LIFE. 

It was a long time before Eose sufficiently 
recovered her spirits to feel settled and at 
rest in her new home, with her uncle and 
guardian. But the great affection that 
existed between the two cousins softened, in 
a manner, to Eose the sorrow of exchang- 
ing Nutley Hall for Eaymond Castle ; 
Madame de Bray and the faithful Doro- 
thy of course followed Eose. But soon 
after the latter retired as housekeeper to 
the priest at the Chapel House, and made 
way for a younger and more active lady's- 
maid. Madame de Bray did not formally 
resign her position, because Eoger, the pre- 



170 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

sent Lord Clifford^ would not hear of lier 
doing so. But she was absent in France 
sometimes for six months together, and in 
short what she received from Lord Clifford 
might rather be considered as a pension for 
past services than as a salary. At the same 
time Eaymond Castle was always open to 
her, and a warm welcome given whenever 
she chose to pay the family a visit. 

As Eose received though still under age, 
a considerable allowance, she was able to 
occupy herself in many works of charity 
among the neighbouring poor ; but at first 
all her energies seemed to have gone to 
sleep, and had it not been for the wise 
tenderness of her cousin Teresa, she pro- 
bably would never have entirely shaken 
off the lethargy that crept over her. Like 
most persons of naturally high spirits, when 
once prostrated by grief, she could not 
easily rise again. Her nature was less deep 
than that of Teresa, and consequently had 
less spring in it. It is the deep lakes that 
feed the large rivers : the lesser waters dry 



DULL LIFE. 171 

up in the summer heat, and fail in their 
supply to the little streams. 

At first, Teresa left her to indulge in the 
idleness of sorrow, and only tried to guide 
her thoughts to the consolations of faith. But 
when by degrees her bright mind discovered 
that Rose's weaker nature was finding a 
sentimental pleasure in inaction, she began 
to try and rouse her, and divert her thoughts 
from herself. Many schemes were set on 
foot for the good of those around them. 
Teresa found motives for visiting first one 
cottage and then another of the villages 
within their reach, and as both were good 
horsewomen some usefulness was combined 
with much invigorating exercise. Rose 
frequently seemed to feel the solitariness of 
their life in consequence of Lord Clifford 
visiting so little amongst the families of the 
neighbourhood. But being in such deep 
mourning, she attributed it to this fact ; 
while Teresa was dreading the moment when 
the real reason, namely, her father's con- 
tinued unpopularity, should dawn upon her. 



172 THE BUCKLYN SHAI&. 

It was beautiful to watch liow Teresa, 
"under all change of circumstances, held on 
the even tenor of her way. Her virtue 
was all the more perfect because it seemed 
so purely natural. There was no strain, no 
evident effort. She said little about her 
motives, less still about her feelings ; but 
day after day came and went, without any 
one being painfully reminded by manifesta- 
tions in her manner or temper that Teresa, 
too, had her trials, and that the little inci- 
deiats of daily life which fret most people, 
somehow seemed to take little or no effect 
on her. When she spoke of sacred things, 
she did it in the same natural manner in 
which she spoke of other matters, only 
perhaps there was a slightly deeper tone 
in the inflexions of her sweet voice. Her 
religion was not a holiday dress to be put 
on and off. It was the breath of her life, 
even and noiseless. The result was that 
while each and all rejoiced in her sanctity, 
few thought of stopping to consider about 
it ; and, perhaps, with the exception of 



DULL LIFE. 173 

Father Netherby, none had seriously taken 
the trouble to arrive at the conclusion^ that 
that every day sweetness — that even- 
handed justice in all things — that harmony 
which you listened to without surprise 
because it was so perfect, could only spring 
from hidden depths of real holiness. 

How many of God's saints pass their 
lives scarcely observed, and scarcely recog- 
nised as such ! It is not all who recognise 
heroism to be heroism, when they only see 
it in the garb of every-day life. 

As Eose began to feel less the pressure 
of her sorrow, and to occupy her thoughts 
more about those around her, it grew upon 
her that on the whole it was a strange life 
they lived at Eaymond Castle. These three 
people, Lord Clifford, Teresa, and herself, 
one so silent and sad, the other two allowed 
to do much what they liked, but somewhat 
unaided in their wishes or pursuits ; it was 
so different from what it had been when 
her own dear parents were alive, and when 
the books she read, the music she played, 



174 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

the walks she took, were each and all a 
matter of interest and comment with those 
around her. Used to reside a great deal 
abroad and to see friends and guests at her 
father's house, the isolation of Eaymond 
Castle and its inhabitants struck her as very 
extraordinary. She had hardly liked to 
allude to it, thinking that perhaps it arose 
from a delicacy towards herself in the first 
months of her loss, but at length this very 
impression seemed to make it incumbent on 
her to release them from the obligation of 
being so dull. One day, therefore, when 
she and Teresa were bending over their 
work-frames, she broke the silence by 
saying : 

" Teresa, you seem to have very few 
neighbours here. Nobody ever calls, and 
yet I think you must have exactly the same 
neighbourhood we had at Nutley. Do you 
not think it is strange no one comes to 
see us ?" 

Teresa paused before making any reply. 
It was not easy for her to know what to 



DULL LIFE. 175 

say. She was unwilling to startle Rose by 
telling her that it had long been so, and 
was not likely to change ; and, moreover, it 
was difficult for her, a dutiful and loving 
daughter, to acquaint Eose with the fact 
that her father was shunned and disliked. 
At length she said : 

"Yes, we have the same neighbourhood 
of course, the two houses being so close 
together ; and I think_, jDerhaps, Rose, 
whenever you feel equal to it, you might 
call yourself on some of your old friends, 
and so show them that you would be glad 
to meet them again. Or, under all the 
circumstances of your not having been out 
anywhere since our loss, and of your being 
now a resident in a new place, it would be 
better if you wrote to one or two of those 
you are most intimate with, and told them 
how glad you would be if they would come 
and see you. And then, you know, by 
degrees, they can tell the others." 

" But, Teresa, do you never call on these 
people ?" 



176 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

** Yes, dear, I do call on several, and they 
are very kind and glad to see me, but they 
very seldom come here." 

'' And now, dear Teresa/' said Eose, 
suddenly resolving to get at the truth, " do 
tell me, once for all, why is this ?" 

" It is a painful subject to me, Eose, but 
I fear the fact is my father is not popular." 

'' Well," said Eose, " that may be, but a 
whole neighbourhood does not generally 
avoid a house like this, as if the plague 
were in it^ merely because its master has a 
gloomy manner and does not know how to 
make himself agreeable. There must be 
some other reason, Teresa. Surely, dear 
cousin, you will not mind telling me." 

The blood mounted to Teresa's cheek at 
these words, and she hesitated. At last, 
reflecting that sooner or later Eose must 
hear something of it, and that, on the 
whole, it was best it should be from herself, 
she said : 

" Some time ago, Eose, and when I was 
still at the convent in Paris^ there were 



DULL LIFE. 177 

some evil reports respecting my poor father. 
Whether it was that he never took the 
trouble to contradict them or not, I cannot 
tell, but it is certain people have shunned 
him ever since." 

Eose started from her seat ; her quick 
ear detected the tremor in her voice with 
which Teresa spoke these last words, and 
kneeling down by her with one hand on 
her shoulder, she said : 

" My poor Teresa, I have given you pain 
by my questions. And now I remember to 
have heard something about aU this before, 
and I remember, too, something that was 
said to me when after my poor father's 
death, I was told that he had left my uncle 
my sole guardian. I did not attach any 
meaning to the words then ; now," she 
added, sorrowfully, " I understand all." 

" Rose," said Teresa, pushing aside her 
work, and turning round to the kneeling 
girl at her side, " sooner or later we must 
have come upon this painful subject, and it 
is just as well it should be now. You aould 

VOL. II. N 



178 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

not have lived long at Raymond Castle 
without knowing there is a blight upon the 
place — a curse I had almost said. You 
have touched without meaning it, sweet 
Rosey, a cord that vibrates most painfully 
in my heart, and from henceforth you and 
I can have no secrets from each other on 
this subject. Rose, my poor father is a 
marked man. It is not for his daughter to 
know or to inquire into that past which 
has made him what we see him. I do not 
know, neither do I ask. Whatever it may 
be, if I knew it I should never love him 
the less — I should only pity him the more ; 
but I do not wish to know. My duty is 
plain. I must devote myself to him in 
every possible way, and pray for him every 
hour of my life. Perhaps in the end, Rose, 
I may obtain my desire, and my poor 
father may become a happier man. I have, 
indeed, every reason to hope it. There is a 
great change from when I first came, and 
every day and every event that occurs 
seems to bring out more cause for hope. 



DULL LIFE. 179 

Eose, dear Rose, I would gladly give my 
Kfe for the welfare of my dear father." 

" Let me join you, dear Teresa, in this 
holy effort," said Rose, her eyes full of 
tears. " And as for me, I am content to 
forego seeing my friends here if the attempt 
would bring him any annoyance." 

" No, Rose ; I think, on the contrary, it 
would be better to try whether between us 
we cannot bring about a kinder state of 
feeling with regard to my father. The 
groundwork was laid by your dear father, 
Rose, and had mine but followed it up after 
my uncle's death, I feel quite sure all would 
have been well; but since his brother's 
death, he has sunk back into his old gloom 
more than I had hoped it would ever be 
possible for him to do again. I hardly 
thought he would have felt it so much. 
And now he keeps himself so shut up that 
he gives no one a chance of being friendly 
with him, except, you know, the Redcliffes," 
added Teresa, with a slight blush, "and he 
is always glad to see them. As to all the 



180 THE BUCKLYN SHAIU. 

other people, if tliey really knew him they 
could not shrink from him in the way they 
seem to do now. Some evening when 
we are all sitting together, you shall say 
something about inviting your friends to 
see you, and then we shall know what he 
wishes about it. I am sure it would be 
better for himself not to be so much alone." 

" And now, Teresa," said Rose, " that we 
have got upon this difficult and painful sub- 
ject, I have another question to ask you, 
about my cousin Robert. Why is he never 
here ? when is he coming ? and why do I 
never hear you talk about him ? I think if 
I had a brother I should be so fond of him 
I should never want any other companion." 

" My dear Rose, that subject is a more 
painful one than the other. I know very 
little of my brother. I have very seldom 
seqn him, and when I have seen him, I have 
felt far more miserable about him than 
about my poor father, except that as I love 
my father very tenderly and devotedly, my 
heart is more occupied with the trouble 



DULL LIFE. 181 

connected with him than with that about 
Robert. You know Eobert has been brought 
up entirely away from us, and, I am afraid, 
in a very undesirable manner. I suppose 
my father did not know the bad influences 
to which his son was exposed, or that he 
had no one to advise him on the subject, 
though I think when I was much younger, 
I used to overhear your father talking to 
mine about Robert, and remonstrating with 
him. And I remember dear aunt Angela 
seeming quite angry, and saying Robert 
would be utterly ruined, body and soul; 
though what exactly she meant I do not 
know. But the truth is, Robert is not at 
all what I wish I could see him. I am 
afraid he is fond of low company. They 
say he gambles : they say many things it 
breaks my heart to hear. When he comes 
home, we see but little of him. He is 
always out shooting with that Italian ser- 
vant of my father's, Yincenzo, whom I 
cannot bear. I see next to nothing of him, 
and when I try to talk to my father about 



182 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

him he appears to dishke the subject. He 
looks grave and sad, and says but Httle. 
There is another thing, too, dear Rose (now 
that we are on the subject of the state of 
this unhappy house), I never can under- 
stand, and that is about Yincenzo. I am 
sure my father disHkes him, even while he 
appears to trust him, and I cannot therefore 
make out why he keeps him." 

''It is true, Teresa, I have noticed some- 
thing strange in Yincenzo's manner to my 
uncle, only I, you know, am used to Italian 
servants, and they are allowed to be much 
more familiar than an English gentleman 
would think it possible to permit in this 
country. No harm seems to come of it 
there, and they often make very devoted 
servants ; but it is not exactly that I object 
to in Yincenzo. He has a way of looking 
at my uncle that makes me feel quite un- 
comfortable, and yet though my uncle 
appears to feel it he never takes any 
notice. Perhaps, you know, dear Teresa, 
it may be that when your poor father was 



DULL LIFE. 183 

much younger and living abroad, Yincenzo 
was with him ; and you know it may make 
your father uncomfortable to be reminded 
by seeing Yincenzo of those times of which 
he, perhaps, thinks with regret/' 

" Only then," said Teresa^ " it seems so 
odd not to part with him. But I fancy an 
old servant sometimes gets such a hold over 
you that it seems impossible to send them 
away. I wish my father would do so. I 
know Father Netherby has not a good 
opinion of Yincenzo, from something he one 
day said to me. He spoke to me about him 
in the hope I might influence my father to 
get rid of him before Robert came home. I 
did attempt it, but I found it would not do 
at all." 

" Why, was Lord Clifford angry ?" asked 
Rose. 

" He was angry. He told me never to 
speak to him on the subject again. I re- 
member his words. He said, ' I choose to 
keep Yincenzo. The man who is good 
enough for me, is good enough for my son.' 



184 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

I am very sorry I was not more successful 
about it, for Robert will soon be coming 
back, and if Yincenzo really does help him 
to get into mischief I shall be very un- 
happy at feeling I dare not speak to my 
father about it any more." 

" Oh^ Teresa, how sad it all is," said Rose, 
after a brief pause, the tears in her eyes, 
and as if she were taking in the misery and 
wretchedness of the whole mystery that 
hung about that house. *' What will become 
of us two poor girls, shut up in this gloomy 
castle ? Teresa," continued Rose, turning 
crimson as she spoke, " what would Andrea 
say if he could see his poor little English 
Rose so sad and so dull." 

" Nipped by our cold atmosphere and 
the frosts of Raymond Castle," answered 
Teresa, with a bright smile. " No, no, my 
darling, something must be done about it 
before it gets as bad as that. You have 
only been here eight months as yet. It is 
too soon to begin to despair. So then, Rosey 
dear, you still think about Andrea Orsini ?" 



DULL LIFE. 185 

" Oh, Teresa ! I shall never think of any 
one else. You know we have been together 
since our childhood, and though, of course, 
that alone might not have made me care 
for him, we saw so much of each other last 
year in Italy, that I have grown to believe 
I was one day to become his wife ; and now 
you know, Teresa, there seems no reason 
why this should not be ; but instead of that^ I 
am shut up here, and perhaps he never will 
come to England again, and I shall never go 
back to Italy. So, Teresa, it is all over, quite 
over, and I shall never be happy again." 

Rose burst into tears as she uttered these 
last words, and hid her face on Teresa's 
shoulder. 

" You silly little Rosey," said Teresa, 
tenderly, " are there no posts in these days, 
and is it not possible to find out a little how 
matters are going on in the Eternal City ? 
Besides, child, you have already received 
letters from the princess, and nothing could 
be kinder or more affectionate than they 
were." 



186 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

'' Yes, certainly," said Eose^ looking a 
little brighter ; " but she did not say much 
about Andrea." 

" No, Rose, it would not have been deli- 
cate to have done so thus soon. She sends 
you the assurance of Andrea's deep sym- 
pathy, and great anxiety that you should 
not allow your troubles to affect your health, 
and she begs you to write often, as other- 
wise, she says, she shall be unable to keep 
Andrea from committing all sorts of follies 
in the excess of his anxiety. Why, Rosey, 
what would you have more ?" 

" That is all true, Teresa, but still she 
says nothing of Andrea's coming over to 
see me, or — or — to fetch me away." 

" That will all come in time, Rose ; at 
present it would be too soon to mention the 
subject; and had the princess done so it 
might have had the appearance of an over- 
anxiety to secure your fortune to her son ; 
for you know, Rose, you are now a great 
heiress^ and the prince and the princess, and 
Andrea himself, would feel that to try and 



DULL LIFE. 187 

influence your feelings so immediately on 
yoTir father's death would not have been 
likely to please your English relations, nor 
(had you reflected upon it) yourself." 

" I never did reflect upon it, Teresa. I 
had forgotten all about my having money. 
I quite see now that I have been unjust to 
Andrea. Of course I could not marry yet," 
said Eose, looking sadly at her black dress, 
" and I should make but a very sorrowful 
bride. It is not that. I could not have the 
heart to do it. But, somehow, Teresa, I 
feel as if I should be safer if Andrea were 
in England. You will not be shocked, dear 
cousin, will you ? I have a feeling some- 
times, particularly when I lie awake at 
night, that you and I are not safe here. 
There is something so lonely about it, and 
there are several of the servants besides 
Yincenzo that I don't like ; and then, my 
uncle is so gloomy — I was going to say cross. 
In short, altogether, dear Teresa, it seems to 
me just as if you and I were shut up in an 
enchanted castle, like the princesses in a 



188 THE BUCKLYN 8HAIG. 

fairy tale, and that some dark night we 
might be murdered, or something dreadful 
happen to us." 

*^ Eosey," said Teresa, " you must not let 
your imagination run away with you like 
that. You will make yourself really un- 
happy if you do so, and destroy your power 
of being useful to others. No, no, my 
darling little cousin, no one will murder 
you ; no one will crush the bright petals of 
my sweet Rose and trample them into the 
dust. I would die for you. Rose, if it came 
to that, and I could do it. But, in truth, 
you must not let such fancies work upon 
your brain." 

" How good you are, Teresa, and how 
wise. I really do think, Teresa, you would 
quite quietly and gladly give up your own 
life if you thought by doing so you could 
greatly benefit another." 

A strange light flitted over Teresa's beau- 
tiful face as Rose said these words. She 
raised for a moment her full dark eyes, and 
a tear glistened in each. Her delicate lips 



DULL LIFE. 189 

parted for a moment as if suspended in an 
aspiration ; then looking down on the fair 
girl still kneeling before her, she put her 
hand on the rich golden curls of that 
graceful head, and kissed Rose's pure brow. 
" Gladly, my darling, would I die for 
you ; gladly would I give up a life that I 
only care to hold while God shall please, 
if by doing so I could make you safer or 
happier. ' Greater love hath no man than 
this, that a man should lay down his life for 
his friends/ He who uttered those words 
laid down His own life for His enemies. 
Perhaps He would accept the sacrifice at 
the hands of His handmaiden, if I could lay 
down mine for His friends and for mine. 
It may seem to you almost absurd, Eose, 
but as I desire to live only for Him, so, if I 
could, I would die for Him ; and you know 
He has also said, * Inasmuch as ye did it 
for one of the least of them, ye did it unto 
Me ;' and often. Rose, a strange feeling, a 
strange hope comes over me that in some 
way I may do more service in my death 



190 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

than I can do in my life. But these are 
wild words, Eose, and would almost give 
you the right to quote against me what I 
have just been saying to you about allowing 
your imagination to run away with you. 
So now we will talk to you no more in this 
strain." 

Thus did those two innocent girls betray 
the inmost thoughts of their hearts. Rose's 
affection for the companion of her infancy 
gave a depth and intensity to a nature that 
but for one ruling influence might have 
wanted in interest. She was not brave and 
grand like Teresa; she was childlike and 
simple, but pure and sweet as the flower 
whose name she bore. Teresa's guiding 
motive was higher and nobler. The light 
of another world had fallen upon her, and 
she walked through this life as one who 
saw far beyond it ; and yet it was only from 
time to time that she thus betrayed the 
depths of her soul and the vast superiority 
of her character. In the ordinary events of 
life she was ever the brightest and the most. 



DULL LIFE. 191 

cordial of any. Judicious, yet gay ; serene, 
but not inanimate. 

But in that day when the secrets of all 
hearts shall be revealed, the bright phalanx 
of God's now hidden saints will stand forth 
in the firmament of heaven like the mid- 
night stars of the southern skies. 

It was impossible but that a character like 
Teresa's should have great influence over 
all who approached her ; and without Rose 
being aware of it her own mind was gra- 
dually expanding and perfecting by inter- 
course with her cousin. Had it not been 
for the intellectual brightness and perpetual 
charm of Teresa's society, Raymond Castle 
would certainly have been a dull home. 
Lord Clifford seldom appeared, except at 
meals and in the evening, when he rarely 
looked up from his book. His manner 
showed a settled gloom which amounted to 
moroseness. It was a subject of bitter pain 
and constant anxiety to Teresa ; for though 
her father's manner was, if anything, even 
more affectionate to his daughter, yet he 



192 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

saw much less of her than he had done 
before Rose's arrival He seemed to think 
he was acting selfishly whenever he called 
her away from her cousin ; and when she 
would offer to sit or walk alone with him 
he put her off, though in a sad, regretful 
way, as if he thought it a duty to give up 
Teresa's society to Rose, and himself to 
keep aloof. This was a severe trial to 
Teresa, whose whole affection was set upon 
her father. Even Rose, her constant com- 
panion, had not the faintest idea of how it 
preyed upon Teresa's heart, nor of the bitter 
tears she shed alone in her chamber, nor of 
the many alms and prayers that were offered 
to obtain from heaven for her father a 
happier state of mind, and for herself the 
delight of witnessing it. Poor innocent 
child ! little did she know, and little could 
she ever have understood had she known 
it, of the de23ths of wretchedness in that 
unhappy man's heart. But even had she 
known it, the only result would have been 
to add earnestness to her prayers. Horror, 



DULL LIFE. 19 o 

indeed, would have seized her had she seen 
in her father a murderer, but compassion 
and love for the poor erring and lost soul 
would have mastered every other feeling, 
and added intensity to her affection. 

It is ever so. The greater the purity 
the more power does it give the jDOSsessor 
over vice. And the innocent walk un- 
scathed, bringing God's grace along with 
them through the lowest haunts of evil, 
where others could not pass a moment un- 
defiled. 

Una lays her hand in security on the 
savage lion's mane, and leads him by a 
hair. 

It was a new pleasure to Eose to find she 
had money enough to spend in doing good, 
and at first Teresa had to check the exu- 
berance of her charitable plans, and the 
amount of the outlay. Yery soon her 
name was well known as the dispenser of 
innumerable comforts. It would have been 
curious to a stranger to watch the way they 
were received, as the two cousins went from 

VOL. II. o 



194 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

house to house. While Rose was every- 
wliere welcomed as the kind and benevolent 
lady to whom they owed so much, Teresa 
was worshipped — as though she had been 
the guardian angel that had brought her. 
One word from Teresa had something more 
supernatural in its charity than all the 
gifts of her amiable but more ordinary com- 
panion. And without reflecting on it or 
even being aware of it, the poor did homage 
to the higher virtue. 

The only person with whom she had ever 
come in contact, and who remained imper- 
vious to her good influence, was the un- 
happy Robert. When they had been at the 
castle together for rare and brief intervals, 
he seemed to shrink from intercourse with 
his sister. He could not hate her; but he 
appeared to fear her : the transparent can- 
dour of her character was in too great con- 
trast with his own dark and secret thoughts, 
and he held aloof from her with the fear 
that vice has of virtue. 

That same evening it was agreed that 



DULL LIFE. 195 

Teresa should say something to her father 
about Eose's wish to renew intercourse 
with her old friends in the neighbourhood. 
Rose felt it was impossible to have them 
coming to the house, and perhaps stopping 
to luncheon with her, without previously 
ascertaining whether their doing so would 
be agreeable to her uncle. It was the 
more necessary as, though Teresa had the 
same acquaintances as Eose, she had seen 
very little of them at the castle. She 
would sometimes spend the day with some 
of them ; but when they called on her their 
visits were brief, and chiefly made with a 
view of engaging her to accompany them 
on some expedition. Teresa began, as 
soon as they were all settled at their various 
occupations in the drawing-room, when 
dinner was over, by saying : 

" Eose and I have been thinking, dear 
father, that we might write to the Eed- 
cliffe's, and ask them to come and lunch 
with us next week, as it is a long time 
since we have seen them." 



196 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

" Have you not called upon them, 
Teresa, lately ?" 

" Yes, once; and they twice upon me, 
when Rose first came here and before she 
saw any one. Then they went to London ; 
and though I have had several notes from 
the girls we have not met since they 
returned." 

" You should certainly see them, my 
dear Teresa. I am not very fond of 
having guests in my house, but I have a 
very great regard for the RedclifFes, and 
they are true friends of yours, Teresa. 
Moreover, you two girls must not be 
allowed to mope to death ; so, if Eose likes, 
we will ask the Redcliifes, and any other of 
your neighbours you wish to have, Teresa, 
let them come. I need not appear, you 
know." 

" But, my dear father, why should you 
not appear? That is just what we want 
you to do. We do not like having company 
even to luncheon, if you, like a savage old 
bear, always shut yourself up in your den." 



DULL LIFE. 197 

" I dare say I shall be out in the 
grounds somewhere, and not in my den 
at all, my dear : so do not think about 
me. Rose has always Madame de Bray 
to chaperon her, and as for you Teresa, 
with your old head on young shoulders, I 
never can realize you want a chaperon at 
all." 

" I am sure, uncle, no one can say I am 
giddy," said Rose, pretending to look 
aggrieved. 

" And nobody did say it, still less think 
it, my dear niece. It never would have 
entered my head as possible, unless you 
had, by speaking, reminded me of the pro- 
verb, '' Qui s excuse s accuser At the same 
time, I do not believe I look upon you 
as such a wise old grandame as Teresa. I 
almost believe she never was a child ; 
but, being the spirit of some ancient 
sage^ consented to seem like a child, 
and then to grow up into a woman for 
the sake of giving some consolation to an 
old misanthrope, like me. But where is 



198 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

the real chaperone, Madame de Bray, this 
evening? she has never appeared since 
dinner." 

" She told me she was going into the 
village, to see some poor woman, and 
begged we would excuse her," replied Rose. 
*' She promised to come here as soon as she 
returnedc" 

" Well^ you had better make known to 
her your intention with respect to inviting 
the Redcliffes, and anything else of the 
kind you want to do. And I must hear 
what madame says. I know nothing about 
what is proper for young ladies, and she 
must advise me." 

" One would think," said Rose/' you had 
never had a daughter of your own." 

" I have a daughter ; but not a young 
lady, as I had the honour of explaining be- 
fore. Teresa was fifty, when she was born, 
and I am afraid to calculate the accumu- 
lated amount of wisdom of which she is 
now the living representative." 

The girls laughed. They were pleased 



BULL LIFE. 199 

to see Lord Clifford in such an agreeable 
humour, and they began to argue well 
from their scheme about receiving their 
friends and making the old castle a little 
more cheerful. 

When Madame de Bray entered, her 
opinion was asked, and as it entirely coin- 
cided with that of her two pupils, the note 
of invitation was immediately written to 
the Eedcliffes, to be sent by a groom on 
horseback next day. 

*' Teresa," said Rose, '' may I add how 
pleased you will be to see them too ?" 

Teresa hesitated, then remembered that as 
the letter was written to Lady Redchffe, and 
that moreover in her character of mistress of 
the house she also must be named in the 
invitation, so that it could not in any way 
personally compromise her, she replied : 

" Yes^ say so by all means." 

On 'the day appointed the EedcHffes 
arrived. Lady Redcliffe and Clara, and 
Agnes, and Mr. Cecil Redcliffe, the one in- 
dividual with whom Teresa had been afraid 



200 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

of compromisiDg herself by sending any- 
message in Rose's note. 

Early that morning Roger had called 
Teresa into his study, and had said to 
her that he was very anxious Rose should 
not find the time pass heavily, but that 
her home in his house should be a happy 
one. 

'' I feel that I personally can do very 
little to make it so. I have done what I 
could in giving up, for her sake, the great 
comfort of my life, the pleasure of having 
you much with me. But in doing that^ 
Teresa, I am breaking myself in for a still 
greater separation which I suppose is in 
store for me one of these days." 

" What can you mean, my dear father ?" 
said Teresa, looking aghast. 

" I mean, my dear child, that I must 
make up my mind, sooner or later, to give 
you up to be married ; and as I have long 
been meaning to say something to you on 
the subject, I may as well at once tell 
you that if ever you felt young Redcliffe 



DULL LIFE. 201 

could find favour in jour eyes, much as I 
dread losing you I should feel obliged to 
consent." 

" My dear father," said Teresa, " why 
will you torment yourself with such 
thoughts ? I have no intention of leaving 
you. 'No one I have ever seen would 
tempt me to give up my only happiness — 
that of being with you, my own beloved 
father. If only I could feel that I suc- 
ceeded in making you less sorrowful, I 
should desire nothing else, and no one shall 
have any claim on me while I can be a 
comfort to you." 

" And that you are, my dear child," said 
Eoger, with visible emotion. 

" Only one thing can do it lastingly and 
thoroughly," added she, standing up sud- 
denly^ and speaking with energy. " Listen 
to me, dear father. Grive me leave to 
write to the vicar-apostolic, and tell him, 
what I know to be the case, that Father 
Netherby is anxious he should, if possible, 
visit this part of the country before long. 



202 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

Let me say you will be glad to receive him 
here. The last barriers will be broken 
then, father, which still divide you from 
greater peace. Say but one little word to 
your own child." 

And she hid her face in his bosom, waiting 
for that word. 

The word was spoken ! It was received 
in silence, but in deep joy ; and the subject 
never again alluded to by father or 
daughter. 

About a month from that date the 
vicar-apostolic arrived at Eaymond Castle. 
Perhaps it was because he was only to 
remain two nights that none of the 
Catholics in the neighbourhood were 
invited to meet him, although, of course, 
the news of his visit soon spread. One 
thing surprised all the members of the 
family very much, except Lord Clifford and 
Teresa, who took no notice of the remarks 
made on the subject. The morning of the 
day he left, Dr. Challoner summoned his 
servant soon after daybreak, and said mass 



DULL LIFE. 203 

before any of the household were known to 
be astir, though Lord CHfFord was found to 
have been up and dressed at an unaccount- 
ably early hour. The vicar made no 
allusion to the ladies about having done 
so, and shortly after breakfast took his 
leave. 



204 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



CHAPTER YI. 

UNDER THE LIME TREES. 

It was not very long after the incidents 
we have just recorded, before Raymond 
Castle presented an aspect it had not worn 
for many years. The presence of two 
lovely girls, both of them heiresses ; Roger 
Clifford's improved fortune, and still more, 
his improved spirits, gradually brought 
about more social intercourse than had 
existed since the time when Roger lived 
there before Teresa's return ; and in this 
case the society was of a very different 
kind, being cheerful and innocent instead of 
noisy and dissipated. It must not, however, 
be supposed that Roger contributed very 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 205 

much personally in promoting anything of 
the sort. Nothing now could make him 
otherwise than a sad, silent man. Never- 
theless he not only did not object to what- 
ever could add pleasure to his niece's and 
daughter's life, but he contributed every- 
thing save his own presence. Of that he 
was very chary, doing w^hat was absolutely 
necessary, and doing that with all his old 
charm and refinement, but, on the whole, 
continuing to be the same recluse amongst 
his books and his thoughts that he had 
become the last few years. 

Robert's visits to his father's house were 
few and brief. He continued to spend his 
time chiefly in London and Paris. There 
he had run greatly into debt. The first 
time his father relieved him from his em- 
barrassments, with only a few words of very 
grave advice, obtaining in return a most 
solemn assurance from Robert that the 
offence should not be repeated. 

A very short time, however, elapsed 
before his affairs were in a worse state than 



206 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

before. This time his father was more 
angry, and finally, would only again set 
him free on condition that Robert gave up 
his present habits of life, and consented to 
live quietly at his father's house. Robert, 
in his brief visits to Raymond Castle had 
been greatly struck by Rose ; and it is 
probable that in consenting to his father's 
conditions, the prospect of seeing more of 
his pretty cousin consoled him partially for 
having to live in the country. Possibly 
also he was not insensible to the great 
advantage that would accrue to himself 
could he win her affections, and become 
possessor of her large inheritance. Be that 
as it may, he played his part so well on 
his return to the castle that Roger was 
not without hope he might, after all, end 
in being a steady and respectable member 
of society, now that he had sown his very 
plentiful supply of wild oats. Teresa also, 
with her heart full of charitable thoughts 
about everybody, was only too rejoiced to 
see her brother apparently more settled, 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 207 

and innocently encouraged him in joining 
herself and Rose in their riding and walking 
excursions. Madame de Bray was at this 
time absent, and thus the three young people 
were thrown exclusively together. 

The novelty of such a life was not without 
its charm to Robert. He had lived very 
little with ladies, and he had fancied their 
society would be dull. It was a real sur- 
prise to him to find that the lively talk of 
the two beautiful girls, the quick percep- 
tions of Teresa and the childlike archness 
of Rose had a charm he had not found in 
the society he had hitherto frequented, 
where more liberty, not to say license, was 
permitted. It would have been well if 
Robert had contented himself exclusively 
with the amusements his father's house 
afforded him. But he could not be always 
with his cousin, and as, when people are 
evil disposed, the means of going astray 
are rarely wanting, Robert, with the un- 
failing aid of Yincenzo, continued to pursue 
the same course he had done hitherto. The 



208 THE BUCKLYxNT SHAIG. 

only real change was, and for this he was 
chiefly indebted to Yincenzo, that he con- 
trived better to conceal it : and all along 
Rose was constantly in his thoughts. 
Rose's beauty — Rose's fortune, tormented 
him by day and haunted him by night. 
He made no effort to resist the fascination 
of her presence : on the contrary, he drank 
down the poison knowingly and deliberately. 
He had taught himself to believe that in 
the end the greatness of his passion for his 
beautiful cousin would remove all obstacles, 
or that if he could only persuade her of the 
intensity of his affection, he should have but 
little difficulty in overcoming her scruples, 
if those obstacles appeared insurmountable. 
Of his father's consent and assistance he 
never entertained any serious doubt. Nor 
was he very diffident with respect to his 
ultimate ascendancy over his cousin. In 
spite, however, of his self-confidence, he 
was constantly thrown back by finding 
that Rose seemed to remain perfectly un- 
conscious of his sentiments towards her. 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 209 

She did not repel his attentions; she ac- 
cepted them simply and sweetly, as she 
might have done from a brother. To a 
man of Eobert's character this soon became 
perfectly maddening ; and in his paroxysms 
of rage and despair his only confidant was 
the wretched Yincenzo. 

In the same oily and subservient way 
that he had crept into the father's secrets, 
he now, and with greater ease, possessed 
himself of all that passed in the heart of the 
son. Under no circumstances would it have 
suited Yincenzo to remain ignorant of any 
secret that was going on in the castle, or 
in the mind of its inmates. Probably 
nothing took place within the walls thaf the 
soft-footed villain did not penetrate. He 
acted on the principle that knowledge is 
power, and in pursuit of knowledge he 
would be at the trouble to acquaint him- 
self with details which might have appeared 
quite insignificant and beneath his notice. 
He knew well enough that the merest straw 
will suffice to tell which way the wind 

VOL. II. • p 



210 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

blows ; and in liis long experience he had 
found that the great facts of a domestic 
drama often hang together on one tiny 
thread. If you have that one clue in your 
hand^ you can unroll the whole ; without it, 
you are lost in doubt. So the worthy man 
spent his time in gathering up the ends of all 
the small threads of events scattered through 
the length and breadth of the populous 
castle. If the poor scullery maid thought 
herself, with her humble affection for the cow- 
herd, beneath the notice of Mr. Yincenzo, 
she erred as completely as the young heir 
would have done, who found himself the 
object of redoubled solicitude, just at the 
time when the services of a clever depen- 
dant like Yincenzo were becoming more 
necessary to him. The valet insinuated 
himself into his master's confidence as soon 
as he began to perceive by Robert's absent 
manner and occasional fits of gloomy silence 
that his sentiments towards Rose were 
assuming a serious character. Yincenzo 
had had foresight enough to imagine this 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 211 

would very probably be the result of the 
young TQan being thrown into frequent 
intercourse with his fair cousin, and long 
before the fact, had made up his mind as to 
the line he should adopt, and how he should 
make it turn to his own advantage. In 
truth the castle was becoming a home but 
Kttle adapted to Yincenzo's habits and 
inclinations. There was reigning an atmo- 
sphere of peace and tranquillity which had 
been gradually on the increase ever since 
Teresa's return more than two years 
previous; the household was orderly and 
well conducted, and even the master — his 
old accomplice and his victim — was an 
entirely altered man, and daily becoming 
less under his own evil influence. In pro- 
portion as religion and morality triumphed 
in the castle did it become too hot for 
Yincenzo; and, moreover, his gains were 
diminishing in every department in which 
hitherto he had exercised control. 

Teresa was by this time a wise and clever 
mistress, and looked into affairs herself, 



212 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

aided by the experience and undoubted 
honesty of the good Mrs. Brown ; and she 
had made several representations to her 
father on domestic matters which he had 
attended to. Vincenzo, therefore, had made 
up his mind to leave ; but he had equally 
determined not to do so till by some stroke 
of safe but special villany he had secured a 
good pecuniary indemnification for the 
comfortable home he was about to quit. 
With this in view, he had gradually re- 
relieved Lord Clifford of a portion of his 
obsequious attentions, and transferred them 
to his son. And while Roger quailed when 
he thought of this man haunting the steps 
of a child of his, he felt that by having the 
fellow less about his own person he had it 
more in his power to dismiss him the first 
opportunity that should present itself. 

Vincenzo had begun his manoeuvring by 
occasionally mentioning Miss Rose's name 
in a casual manner, and watching the effect 
produced on Robert's countenance. He 
would observe to him, as if accidentally, 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 213 

that Rose was sitting alone in a particular 
part of the garden, and would then watch 
the young man with the conviction that 
before long he would direct his steps to 
the spot named. 

Teresa had gone out driving alone to 
pay a visit, and Eose was sitting reading 
under the shade of the lime trees at the end 
of the terrace, when Eobert, having received 
an intimation to that effect from Yincenzo, 
came down the broad terrace walk and 
joined her. Rose was sitting on a very low 
chair with a book in her lap, and her work 
lying on a small table near her. Robert 
thought what a pretty picture she made in 
her white dress against the dark green 
boughs, the flickering light falling on her 
ripphng golden hair, and dancing in and out 
in bright flakes upon the folds of her dress ; 
now lighting up the red sash that bound 
her little waist, now toying with the gold 
buckle on her tiny foot, as it peeped from 
beneath the folds of muslin. Robert threw 
himself at full length in front of her, and 



214 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Eose, finding her solitude broken in upon, 
shut the book, and took up her work. 

After the first sHght greeting, and an 
inquiry of what had become of Teresa, both 
were silent. It was one of those rare but 
beautiful hot days we sometimes have in 
October ; the flowers were all ablaze in the 
garden-beds ; the bees were gathering a 
few more unexpected drops of nectar to add 
to their winter store. Now and then a leaf, 
the forerunner of his fellows, loosened from 
the parent branch, came trembling down to 
die on the damp earth. The thrush had 
resumed his spring notes, but with much 
more frequent repetition of his melancholy 
monotonous call than when he was in full 
song in the month of May ; like the queru- 
lous repetition of the memory of an old and 
lost love. It was a scene for silence rather 
than speech ; and while Robert watched 
and thought, Eose was silent from an 
instinct that, without knowing why, made 
her feel a little awkward. Lately she had 
always felt this if she found herself alone 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 215 

with Eobert, and almost unconsciously she 
had avoided meeting him, unless Teresa or 
her uncle were present. Now there was no 
help for it ; but she sat stitching, with her 
eyes on her work. Perhaps she felt what 
she could not see — the long burning gaze 
of the recumbent figure lying a few paces 
off. Suddenly the wind stirred in the 
leaves above her, and with one wild swoop 
the warm breeze came roughly by, and 
catching the piece of embroidery then lying 
on her lap, whirled it away till it caught in 
one of the hanging branches to her left. 
With a light laugh she rose to disentangle it. 
Eobert did the same. Her little fingers 
were busily untwisting the muslin ; Eobert 
helping, side by side. The white sleeve of 
her dress brushed his cheek as her arm was 
raised amid the green leaves. Each held 
the work ; and as he put it into her hands 
he caught her wrists, and detained her for 
one moment, and with an expression she 
had never seen before looked full into her 
face. Shame and anger suffused the deep 



2iG THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

blush over face and throat, then terror left 
her deadly pale. She wrenched her hands 
out of the grasp of her cousin's, and stepping 
back like a queen, she raised her head 
proudly, and exclaimed : 

^'Robert, what do you mean: how dare 
you be so rude ?" 

'' Forgive me, Rose ; I am much to blame. 
I had no right to startle you. Sit down 
one moment, my dear little cousin," he said, 
in a tender, but altered, tone ; "if you do 
not, I shall think I have for ever offended 
you. Why should you be so angry with 
me ? I was, perhaps, a little rough ; but 
are we not cousins; and would you not 
excuse in me what you would not in 
another ?" 

Rose had sat down, because [she could 
hardly ^^ stand ; but her manner was not less 
displeased, as she replied : 

*' No, Robert ; certainly not, when you 
act as no cousin should do — nor, indeed, 
any man. I do not know what you mean, 
and you frightened me." 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 217 

" Oh, Rose ! do not say that ; Hsten to 
me this once, and say that you forgive 
me. 

And then he told her all. It was the 
best love he had known, and the nearest 
approach to real love ; but even so it was 
not good and pure, for that it was no longer 
in Robert's perverted nature to be. He 
used all the argimients that passion could 
invent, but the only effect upon Rose was 
to frighten her still more. 

Finding she remained quite untouched, 
he tried whether family pride could influ- 
ence the young heiress. He alluded to the 
fact that by their marriage the whole of 
that great property would remain still at- 
tached to the old and noble name of Clifford. 
Finally, finding he obtained no response, he 
reverted to their being cousins, and assured 
her that he would be the last to propose to 
her anything that would shock her prin- 
ciples (and here he found it difficult to 
speak as if those principles had any hold on 
himself), but represented to her that as the 



218 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

advantages of their union would be so great, 
no difficulty would exist as to obtaining a 
dispensation. Rose had hardly known how 
to check him in his long and hurried speech^ 
but when he reached this point she stood up 
as if preparing to leave, and said, gently 
and firmly : 

" No, Robert ; it can never be. You can 
never be more to me than my cousin. And 
if that relationship did not exist between us, 
I should still say that what you wish can 
never be. I am very sorry, Robert, if I 
have pained you. I did not think this could 
ever happen. It has surprised and startled 
me. But even were it not so, I should 
never have any other answer to give. I 
hope you will endeavour to think no more 
about it. For my part I will not mention 
anything that has passed." 

For a moment a lurid shade passed over 
Robert's brow ; his eyes flashed, he bit 
his lips, and he muttered : 

" My home is lost to me if you betray me. 
Rose. I could not remain here another 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 219 

hour, were my secret known to my father 
and Teresa." 

" JSTo, Eobert," said the generous girl, her 
voice trembhng with emotion ; "I will 
tell no one. You must behave well, and 
not betray anything by your manner. I 
should be greatly distressed if you had to 
leave your home on my account. You may 
depend on my saying nothing." 

For one moment she laid her hand on his 
to show she wished to part friends and that 
he might trust her, and then turned and 
walked back to the house alone, little dream- 
ing of the snares and fetters that would be 
forged out of that generous promise of 
secrecy. 

That evening Eobert left a message to 
say he should dine at a friend's house in the 
neighbourhood. Whether he actually did 
so, or had means of getting food sent to him 
in his own den^ the former gun-room, it is 
certain he sat alone there through the long 
hours of the evening, thinking deeply. They 
were dark and troubled thoughts that fur- 



220 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

rowed that white brow and clenched that 
gentlemanly hand, and made the young 
man so restless in his movements. He 
looked like some wild animal, beautiful but 
dangerous, enclosed in a cage anti stalking 
across its narrow boundary with impatient 
strides. 

The refusal he had met with had added 
tenfold intensity to his passion, and height- 
ened incalculably the value of Rose's pos- 
sessions in his avaricious mind. Nothing 
should baulk him. Time and perseverance, 
stratagem and deceit, should be his aux- 
iliaries ; but it must be that Rose, and 
Nutley Hall with its broad lands, should be 
his. He pondered over her manner during 
the last decisive interview, and over all he 
had been able to observe these months past 
of her character, and he had not, deceitful 
as he was himself, a shadow of a doubt that 
that fair young girl, all innocence and timi- 
dity, would keep her promise of secrecy 
faithful to the last. Upon this, certainty he 
resolve to act. He decided on sounding his 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 221 

father with respect to a niarriage with Rose ; 
but he would do so without letting Lord 
Clifford suppose that he had been so rash as 
to broach the question himself with Rose 
without reference to Lord Clifford ; still less 
would he betray that his feelings were seri- 
ously implicated. 

Robert retained his earlier impressions of 
his father's ambitious character, and beyond 
thinking him grown dull and moody, he had 
not realized that that character had under- 
gone a complete change. Therefore he 
easily arrived at the conviction . that Lord 
Clifford would encourage the plan, and 
use his influence with his ward to bring it 
about. He felt sure enough of his powers 
of reserve to prevent his father from seeing 
more into his heart than he intended, and so 
of hiding the fact that any strong feelings 
existed there which might make it unde- 
sirable that he should remain at home in the 
same house with his cousin. It would not 
do to betray himself sufficiently to his father 
for the latter to feel bound to send him 



222 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

away, as he was thoroughly determined that 
even if he did not find in Lord CKfford the 
ally he expected, he would not for that give 
up his pursuit, although he might have to 
alter his tactics. 

His own hot blood rushing through his 
veins, and the strong hard beat of his 
pulse, forced upon him the conviction that 
suspense and inaction were the two trials he 
was least able to meet ; and, moreover, for 
every reason it was wiser to ascertain his 
father's sentiments at once. He passed a 
sleepless night, watching for the dawn, and 
resolved that the next morning should decide 
the question so far as Lord Clifford was con- 
cerned. There was little cordiality of man- 
ner between the father and the son at any 
time ; but Robert knew that whatever 
might have been the sins committed against 
him in his early education, his father of late 
times had shown himself indulgent and 
liberal. The whole atmosphere of the 
house, so greatly >n contrast with former 
times, showed him that his best chance of 



rXDER THE LllilE TREES. 223 

success would be in assuming a high moral 
tone, and bringing forward principle more 
than passion or avarice; and therefore he 
resolved on entering on the question of the 
near relationship, and on the possibilities of 
this objection being removed by ecclesiastical 
authority. There was a special advantage 
to Eobert in being able to fence and case 
himself in hypocrisy, because it obliged him 
so perfectly to act a part that it made the 
concealment of his passion more easy. He 
was going to do so as thoroughly as a dra- 
matist on the boards before the footlights, 
and the completeness of the disguise was in 
favour of his keeping his real self entirely 
out of sight. 

At noon on the following day he saun- 
tered into his father's study, and as his 
appearing there was somewhat unusual, he 
began by asking if his presence disturbed 
him. Eeceiving a reply in the negative, he 
sat down by the large wood fire, and began 
slowly piling the glowing embers and adjust- 
ing the burning logs, in the way people do 



224 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

who are either very idle or very preoccupied. 
At last, with perfect control of voice, he 
hegan : ' 

" I have been wishing, sir, for some days 
past, to speak to you on a matter of con- 
siderable moment to me, but in which I 
would not take a step, or even allow myself 
an opinion, without first taking your advice. 
Would it be convenient to you to hear me 
now? 

" Certainly, Eobert," said Lord Clifford, 
closing his book and drawing his arm-chair 
opposite the other side of the fire ; " what is 
it you have to say ?" 

" Well, sir," said Robert, affecting a slight 
hesitation, *' it can hardly have escaped 
your consideration that if a young man 
finds himself living on terms of great inti- 
macy with a very beautiful girl like Rose, 
it is not unnatural that it should enter his 
head to think of her in a more serious light 
than as a mere pleasant companion. And I 
do not wish to conceal from you that seeing 
as much of my cousin as I do, I might pos- 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 225 

sibly get a little touched by a softer senti- 
ment than any I should wish to indulge in 
before seeing my way a little clearer before 
me. It is better to know at once what your 
wishes are likely to be; for of course I 
should not think of trying what I might do 
to make Rose like me without first consult- 
ing you. Rose is a charming and amiable 
girl. Our union would unite the great bulk 
of the Clifford property with your smaller 
estate (an advantage which I am sure you 
will not blame me for remembering, even 
while speaking of what is of more impor- 
tance). I have been perhaps a little wild 
and extravagant in the past" (an off-hand 
confession, made with a show of sincerity 
that came quite touchingly to the father's 
heart from the handsome young spendthrift 
before him) ; " but if I could obtain a wife 
like Rose, I ask nothing more than to settle 
down quietly, and perhaps retrieve the past. 
It is true we are cousins ; but I suppose, 
sir, when the advantages to be gained 
are so enormous, a judicious representation 
VOL. II. Q 



226 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

made in the right quarter, would obtain the 
necessary dispensation." 

Roger had listened to this sensible and 
self-possessed speech with mingled feelings 
of pleasure and anxiety. 

Nothing would have delighted him more 
than the match ; but was that good-looking 
youth, who had never been anything but a 
sorrow to him, a proper husband for the 
ward so sacredly entrusted to him by his 
eldest brother? 

" You rather take me by surprise," re- 
joined Lord Clifford ; " and the question 
requires reflection. Tell me, Robert, am I 
to understand that you are in love with 
your cousin ?" 

" That is a very home question, sir," 
rephed Robert, with a half-shy smile and a 
blush. '' If I had your authority I should 
be in love with her without any difficulty ; 
but I do not want to go and make a fool of 
myself for nothing, and therefore I wished 
to talk it over with you, and if you ap- 
proved ask you to use your influence, and 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 22 i 

express jour sentiments on the subject to 
Rose, before I come forward at all. The 
fact of our being cousins makes it all the 
more essential she should know you coun- 
tenance my pretensions before it would be 
right or delicate for me to speak." 

Roger was immensely pleased with this 
candour and high principle in his son. He 
could not conceal from himself that the 
alliance would give him the highest possible 
satisfaction, and really it seemed to open 
the way for such an easy and complete 
reformation in Robert, that if only Rose 
could be brought to consent, the welfare and 
happiness of the family would be for ever 
cemented by such a union. He promised 
Robert to speak to Rose about it, but said 
he should do so without giving her to sup- 
pose he was acting by Robert's express 
desire. 

" Because," he added, " if she seems dis- 
inclined to receive your addresses, it will be 
better not to have said anything about you 
which might make your remaining here 



228 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

awkward or painful to her. Probably she 
will at first be indisposed to think about it 
favourably, for as (very properly) you have 
not made love to her there has been nothing 
to induce her to direct her thoughts towards 
you ; therefore even if her first answer is 
in the negative there can be no necessity for 
your going away, as she will not know 
what has passed between us ; and if she con- 
tinues to see you she might gradually grow 
to the idea after I have once suggested it. 
Of course if she takes my suggestions 
willingly there will be no reason why you 
should not go in and win ; a termination, 
my dear boy, which would give me great 
pleasure." 

And so they forged the fetters for poor 
Rose, the one in hypocrisy the other in 
good faith, and the once astute Roger was 
outwitted by his more sophisticated son. 

It was not many days before Roger made 
an opportunity for a private interview with 
Rose. He spoke to her in a calm^ diplo- 
matic way, in his character of guardian to 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 229 

herself, and head of the Chfford family. He 
treated the matter chiefly as one of business 
and convenience rather than of affection, 
and in doing this he was actuated by a good 
motive. His son had not expressed any 
vehement affection for Rose, and even had 
he done so Lord Clifford would have hesi- 
tated to plead strongly in his son's favour, 
when the advantages of the alliance were so 
obviously on his own side. 

Rose's fortune made her a great match, 
and with her noble birth entitled her to look 
for a welcome entrance into any family of 
the highest rank in England, or on the con- 
tinent ; and Lord Clifford was quite alive 
to the possible reproach of having married 
his ward to his son before he had given her 
any opportunity of choosing for herself 
amongst other suitors. He spoke to her 
with great kindness, and with a sort of 
deference, which for the first time brought 
before the young girl's mind a sense of her 
own importance as an heiress, for though 
Robert had said a great deal to her on the 



230 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

subject, the torrent of his passion had pre- 
vented her reverting to that part of his 
interview with her. It was not until the 
cool, calm discourse of her guardian, full of 
strangely-blended courtesy and paternal 
benevolence, put the question before her in 
all its solemnity, that she realised how much 
hung upon her decision. Young and inex- 
perienced as Eose was she had an intuitive 
quickness of perception which generally led 
her to come to a right conclusion upon any 
subject put seriously before her. Not even 
the very cautious way in which Lord 
Clifford spoke of his son for a moment put 
it out of her head that Eobert had urged 
his father to speak for him ; and she was 
justly indignant to find that while she, by 
her solemn promise of silence to Eobert, was 
precluded from seeking in her guardian's 
protection any security against Eobert' s 
pressing his suit, he had artfully enlisted 
his father on his own side, while he held 
back from him the fact that he had already 
formally proposed for her hand. She felt 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 231 

the immense disadvantage at which this 
placed her, and it added to the caution and 
brevity of her replies. They were perfectly 
decided in the negative, but they were so 
little discursive, and she limited herself so 
exclusively to the fact that she did not wish 
to marry yet, and that she was sure she 
should never look upon Robert in any other 
light than that of a cousin, that the impres- 
sion left on Lord Clifford's mind was to the 
effect that her indifference arose from the 
subject being so new to her. He went so 
far as to flatter himself that now he had 
broken up the virgin soil of her imagination, 
and sown the seed of a thought about affec- 
tion, love, and marriage, it would develop 
of itself, and very probably lead to her 
allowing Robert to pay her attention. Her 
maidenly reserve was far too great for her 
to venture upon any allusion to her already 
deeply-rooted attachment to Andrea. She 
spoke like a girl who knew nothing about 
love, and was not inclined to give her atten- 
tion to the subject, and so the very perfec- 



232 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

tion of her simplicity produced the same 
effect that extreme caution might have 
done, and Lord CHfford was completely 
deceived. He lost no time in communi- 
cating his impressions to Robert, upon 
whom he urged the greatest possible pru- 
dence, at the same time fully authorizing 
him to remain at the castle and watch his 
opportunities of making himself agreeable 
to Eose. Robert thus gained all he ex- 
pected. He was sure of his father s co-ope- 
ration and certain that he could remain on 
the spot, while, having thus put Rose 
severely to the test, he was more than ever 
convinced that she was true to her word, 
and would not break silence, and that con- 
sequently she was left very much at his 
mercy. 

For some days after all this had passed 
he absented himself almost entirely from 
Rose's society. He wanted to lull her sus- 
picions to sleep, and delude her into think- 
ing he had given it up. He was quite sure 
that the consequence would be a greater 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 233 

willingness on her part to treat him kindly, 
after such evidence of good conduct, when 
next he thought fit to renew their inter- 
course, and this was exactly what happened. 
During the fortnight that they saw very 
little of him Teresa would frequently won- 
der what Robert was doing wdth himself, 
and Eose as frequently had a perfectly 
commonplace reason to suggest as the pro- 
bable cause of his absence. It cost her a 
great deal to keep anything from Teresa, 
but the loyal little heart would have gone 
to the stake before she would have breathed 
a word calculated to make his home less 
available and pleasant to the worthless 
young man who had proposed to her. 

In course of time Robert crept gradu- 
ally back to his former place with his 
sister and cousin. He did not force himself 
upon them, and the November weather had 
made riding and walking less frequent. 
Still he allowed himself to sit with them 
occasionally in the drawing-room, and join 
in their pursuits ; not to the extent he had 



234 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

done before his proposal, but enough to 
enable him to seize any opening that might 
allow for pressing his suit. 

In spite of all his efforts Rose baffled him. 
She looked upon the question as quite 
settled, and it troubled her no more. Hav- 
ing no real experience of what passion in 
a man might be, she supposed that having 
said No to Robert, and to his father on 
his account, Robert after keeping away for 
a fortnight had very sensibly given it up. 
He was still her cousin, and they could be 
very good friends, and she saw no reason 
why they should not be all comfortable 
together as they had been before that 
unfortunate day under the lime-trees. And 
realizing no reason to the contrary, she 
concluded it was as she wished. It was 
only by degrees that she perceived the 
truth, and when she did so her pain and 
annoyance were extreme. 

Robert would return from shooting about 
four o'clock of the short November days, 
and steal into his sister's drawing-room, 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 235 

where the two girls were reading or 
working. She could not always make her 
escape, as that would have led to remarks 
and as effectually betrayed the secret she 
had promised to keep as if she had told all. 
And so she was compelled to endure the 
fitful conduct of her half-mad admirer. 

Once or twice he tried to renew the sub- 
ject ; and once, exasperated by his audacity, 
she had threatened to appeal to his father. 
Upon this there was a burst of entreaty, 
expostulation, and dark threats of evils 
and dangers she did not understand ; and 
then to keep him quiet, or to get rid of 
him, she again promised to say nothing, if 
he would only leave her quiet. 

Teresa began to notice that something 
was amiss, and would endeavour to lead 
Rose to answer her observations on the 
subject. But she never obtained enough 
reply to make it appear that Eose was alive 
to the state of the case, and she shrank 
from opening her eyes too suddenly. She 
hinted one dav to her father that she 



236^ THE BUCKLYiN SHAIG. 



thought Robert was not indififerent to Eose. 
He did not enlarge on the subject, but 
only replied with a sigh that he wished 
Rose could be induced to accept him, and 
that it would be the saving of Robert. 

Teresa longed to tell him of Andrea, but 
feared that her doing so would be prema- 
ture, and hesitated as to the right she had 
to betray her cousin s secret. 

Thus matters were getting worse, and 
Robert was more and more losing control 
over himself. Sometimes he would shut 
himself from them for a whole day, as if he 
could no longer endure the torture of look- 
ing at her placid, beautiful face ; at other 
times he would seek false courage and 
excitement in drinking, just enough to give 
a savage character to his tone and manner ; 
and more than once he had startled Rose 
by coming suddenly upon her with red, 
glaring eyes, and wild, almost menacing 
words, and frighten her terribly. 

Unable to endure this cruel persecution, 
she decided upon speaking to Father Ne- 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 237 

therby about it, and asking his advice as to 
what she should do to rid herself of a state 
of things fast getting beyond endurance. 
By the time she resolved on doing this, she 
found that Eobert's manner became more 
menacing than ever. He never spoke to 
her when any one else could overhear him, 
and his words, far from conveying regard 
or affection, were cruelly cutting, and often 
positively insulting. 

She now avoided him as much as she pos- 
sibly could, and he no longer frequented 
their sitting-room. But once or twice she 
had met him lurking about in the passage, 
near her apartment. He would suddenly 
come from behind a door, or round a corner 
of the garden-walk, face to face with her. 
He always seemed to know exactly where 
to find her ; and when they thus met, his 
countenance and appearance would have 
chilled the blood of a braver and older 
woman than little Eose. 

She was terribly cramped by the obliga- 
tions of her fatal promise, and yet she felt 



238 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

it was only due to herself to let some one 
into her confidence, and so she resolved to 
speak, as we have said, to Father Netherby. 
Even here, she was some time before 
she could bring herself to enlarge enough 
upon the -subject to leave on the good man 
any clear and distinct impression of the 
really alarming and extremely painful facts. 
Father Netherby was a long time before he 
seized the notion of how serious it was, and 
beyond giving her general advice and con- 
solation, he urged nothing for effectually 
putting her beyond the reach of a danger 
the extent of which, from the timid and 
defective description given by Eose, he did 
not realize. 

One evening, early in December, Lord 
Clifford and the two girls were sitting after 
dinner, the girls working and talking. 
Lord Clifford reading, and at the other • end 
of the large room, behind the shadow cast 
by a dark red curtain, was Eobert ; medi- 
tating perhaps, or perhaps asleep, for he 
did not speak. 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 239 

Teresa and Rose were discussing the 
preparations for some Christmas entertain- 
ments that were to be given at the castle 
towards the end of the month, or early in 
January. 

*' I have been telling Rose," said Teresa, 
to her father, '' that if you give the ball 
you talked of, she ought to wear some of 
her beautiful diamonds ; don't you think 
so ? 

*' Indeed I do," said Lord Clifford, look- 
ing up good-naturedly from his book. '' She 
has never done so yet, and she ought to 
try how they suit her, and whether the 
setting is what people wear now, before 
she goes to London this year, and she 
could not have a better opportunity than 
at the ball given here in her honour. 
Have you ever put them on, my dear ?" he 
asked. 

" Yes, one day Teresa and I amused our- 
selves with unpacking some of them, and I 
tried them on her, and she on me ; but that 
is some time ago. I should think the setting 



240 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

would do very well. You know dear 
mamma wore them once or twice in Eome, 
the year before she died. I should not like 
to have them altered." 

"Are they locked up in your room, 
dearest ?" said Teresa. 

'' Yes, they are in my room, in the top 
drawer of the chest of drawers. Whether 
locked or not, I am not sure. I used to 
keep the key in my dressing-case, but I 
rather think I have lost it ; however, that 
makes no difference, for I remember the 
drawer is not locked now." 

" You careless child," said Lord Clifford, 
looking fondly at her ; " fancy leaving ten 
thousand pounds' worth of diamonds lying 
open in a drawer ! I have often been 
meaning to speak to you about them. You 
ought to keep what you may want for 
casual wear, and let the remainder go to 
the banker's in London. For it will only 
be when you and Teresa are going out next 
year that you will want them. However," 
he added, with a smile, " I suppose you 



UXDER THE LIME TREES. 241 

want the county people to see you in all 
your jewels for once, so you had better 
remind me to take them to town when the 
ball is over ; only, pray meanwhile find 
your key, and keep them locked up." 

" Shall I fetch them now, and show them 
to you, uncle ?" said Rose, still child enough, 
or woman enough, whichever our readers 
please, to enjoy showing her pretty things 
and trying them ou. 

" Do so, by all means," said Lord Clif- 
ford, with an arch smile ; *' we shall all be 
charmed to have a private rehearsal of 
Eose's first public appearance in the Clifibrd 
diamonds, to say nothing of that extremely 
beautiful set of diamonds and sapphires, 
which your poor mother received from the 
Orsini family on her marriage, and which 
I remember were the admiration of every- 
body." 

Rose left the room to fetch her jewels. 
No one remembered Robert, or noticed that 
he still sat in the shadow of the red curtain. 
Presently Rose returned with an armful of 

VOL. II. R 



242 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

velvet cases stamped in gold, and with her 
mother's initials and baroness's coronet. 
Teresa acted as tire-woman. Rose was 
dressed in white silk. She almost always 
wore white of an evening. The diamonds 
lit up her bright complexion, and shot 
brilliant flashes amid the golden glory of 
her hair. She looked perfectly radiant, 
crowned with diamonds ; diamonds on her 
neck and bosom, and strings of pearls, with 
diamond clasps, on her glittering white 
arms. Hers was a skin that seemed to 
emit light, as some white flowers appear to 
do at eventide. They talked it over, and 
played with the jewels, and laughed to- 
gether, as girls may do. Roger looked on, 
amused and pleased ; but no one looked 
towards the silent man at the end of the 
room, who saw and heard all with clenched 
teeth, and brow moist with agony. He did 
not stir ; till presently the girls retired to 
rest, and Roger rose to fetch another book 
from his study. Then Robert hfted his 
tall height from the nook where he had sat 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 243 

crouching, and stalked out of the room to 
his den, and sank into a chair with a 
groan. 

An hour after, the house was all quiet, 
and Yincenzo came to the den to see if his 
young master wanted him. Robert had 
reached that point of utter desperation 
when it needs but a word from another to 
break down all the barriers of secrecy and 
self-restraint. Yincenzo saw this. He 
knew pretty well all that had been passing 
in his master's mind, for as usual he had 
been constantly picking up the thread of 
events as a spider does those of his venom- 
ous web. He knew that Robert's feelings 
towards Rose had changed in character. 
The tenderness had all died out, everv 
vestige of sentiment that might have ele- 
vated the nature of his feelings had 
vanished, and nothing was left but the 
brute violence of passion, on the verge of 
turning into the brute force of hate. 

After a few brief words of explanation, 
Yincenzo began in that. unmoved, slow way 



244 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

of speaking that perhaps was natural, or 
possibly arose from using a language that 
was foreign to him. 

" Don't you think, sir, we had better go 
away from here altogether, and not stop 
where everything you see makes matters 
worse ? I know I do not want to stay in 
this horrid old castle, where nothing ever 
happens that has any change in it, and 
where you, sir, who ought to be the pride 
and joy of the house, are set aside for two 
silly girls, one of whom has got all that 
ought to be yours." 

" Yes, that ought to he mine. You may 
well say that, Yincenzo. Has she not been 
decking herself out this night before my 
very eyes, in the Clifford diamonds, mad- 
dening me with her beauty, and making me 
long to crush the life out of her, and stain 
that white flesh in her own blood." 

" Gently, gently, sir," said the wily man, 
pretending to be shocked, but in an en- 
couraging tone. " I never can understand 
you Englishmen. You talk so rash, and 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 245 

act SO cold ; and yet when you have made 
up your mind to do a bold stroke — and I 
can't say you want for courage — instead of 
taking time, and going about it safely and 
surely, you make a dash at it, and commit 
a blunder where you only meant to commit 
a crime ; and then you go off to the gal- 
lows, and get hung ; and it all comes of 
your being in such a hurry. Per Bacco ! 
I should have thought of it for a month 
before I should have talked of spilling my 
sweetheart's blood." 

"There, Yincenzo, don't bother me. 
You know I don't mean it, and it is only 
to you I should say it ; but the fact is, I 
am mad to-night." 

" Yes, yes, sir ; I know it is only to me, 
though I am not quite so sure about your 
not meaning it. Of course, if Miss Rose 
had consented to your proposal it would 
have been all right, and I should have 
been the last man to wish such a pretty 
piece of womankind to come to any harm ; 
but it is not in nature to see that strip of a 



246 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG^. 

girl standing between you and your late 
uncle's fortune^ -whicli must be yours if, as 
she will not marry you, she would do some- 
thing else'' 

" It is no use talking about it, Yincenzo. 
The girl is not going to die. I never saw 
anybody look less like it." 

" How can you tell ? Accidents happen 
every day. People slip down a precipice, 
with a friend standing close to them who 
has not power to save them ; or they die in 
their sleep." 

" However, Yincenzo, Rose has no heart 
disease, as the doctors say my sister has." 

" When I was in Padua," said Yincenzo, 
taking apparently no notice of Robert's 
remark, " there was a poor devil who got 
into trouble there for killing his wife in her 
sleep. He was in love with a beautiful 
girl, and. he wanted to get rid of his old 
lady, and marry her. He meant it to 
appear that she had died a natural death ; 
and to secure this he must of course avoid 
all marks of violence. So one night, when 



UNDER THE LIME TREES. 247 

she was fast asleep, he shpped a plaster 
over his wife's mouth and nose, and then 
sat upon her till she died." 

Robert laughed. 

" Why do you laugh, sir ?" said Yin- 
cenzo, with a sardonic grin. " It is quite 
true. You see, being her husband, he had 
no difficulty about getting into her room. 
I suppose if he had been only her friend, 
she might have woke and asked him what 
he wanted, before he got the plaster on ; 
and in that case he would have had to see 
that she had drunk some sleeping-draught 
before going to bed, so that she might not 
hear him come in." 

" Well, but he was found out and got 
into trouble ; so, with all his cleverness, he 
did not escape. How did that come 
about r 

"Ah! that is the sad part of it," said 
Yincenzo, in his usual slow, unaccented 
drawl. " He put the plaster on, and he took 
it off when she was dead, and it was all right 
and safe enough, though people wondered 



248 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

what she died of, and there was some sus- 
picion against him ; but the poor fool told 
his sweetheart what he had done for her 
sake. The girl did not care for him, and 
was in love with another man who was 
younger; so she betrayed him to the 
authorities, and he was executed. But 
that was, as you see, all his own fault." 

" What was the plaster made of, Yin- 
cenzo ? It must have been pitch." 

'' No ; it was not, for it was white, and 
left no stain when you tried to wash it oif. 
I know how it was made." — And he told 
him. 

" Ah, that's all very well," said Eobert ; 
"but here in England we have got a 
coroner's inquest to go through in any case 
of sudden death, so we can't put people out 
of the way with poisons and plasters as 
you can in Italy." 

" Yes," said Yincenzo, meditatively ; '' it 
is a great pity the doctors do not say that 
Miss Eose has got an hereditary heart 
disease." 



249 



CHAPTER TIL 

*' VENGEAXCE IS MIXE ; I WILL REPAY, 
SAITH THE LORD." 

For some days after the scene we have 
witnessed in the den, Eobert absented him- 
self almost entirely from the society of his 
family. His manner varied from silent 
moroseness to a sort of exaggerated, super- 
cilious courtesy, which made Rose's blood 
freeze on the rare occasions when she was 
obliged to be in his presence. The subject 
of his conversation with Yincenzo in the 
den was never resumed by either of the 
men, but the Italian talked constantly as if 
he were entirely preoccupied with his desire 
to leave service and return to Genoa, at 
the same time throwing out strange hints 



250 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

about long service and great fidelity de- 
manding more reward than an ordinary 
servant's gage. 

Eobert once asked him why he did not 
speak to his father of his wish to leave ; 
but Vincenzo had by that time become too 
much awed by the evident change in Roger's 
way of thinking and acting, to feel that he 
had the same power of silently bullying 
him that he once had. 

He hated Roger with all his heart now 
that he thought he was to a degree a 
reformed man ; while the very fact of the 
moral change gave Roger a power over 
the Italian which made the other afraid of 
him; so he seemed to look to Robert to 
take his father's place, and was constantly 
throwing out hints of important family 
secrets never betrayed, all of which ended 
by becoming a nuisance to Robert, and 
making him feel he too should be glad 
when the scoundrel could be got rid of. 

Early in December, Lord Clifford was 
called from home on business, and not 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 251 

choosing to leave Eobert alone in the house 
with Teresa and Rose, he had suggested to 
him that he should take the opportunity of 
carving out an intention he had had of 
going to a certain wild part of the county 

of S , for woodcock shooting. They 

were to leave Raymond Castle together 
in the evening, and to separate half-way. 
Robert w'as going to a place called the 
*' Hammer Ponds," and Lord Clifford to 
London. It happened to be a mild, soft 
December morning, the day they had fixed 
for their journey. And Lord Clifford, wish- 
ing to call at one of his farms on the hills, 
had proposed to w^alk there soon after 
breakfast with the two girls and Robert, as 
he wanted to point out a small wood to the 
latter on his way, which he was talking of 
cutting down. Robert could not excuse 
himself from accompanying them. It was 
just the day for exercise — fresh, but genial. 
The year w^as dying out, like an old man 
with all the tender glory of age without its 
infirmities. But Rose was not in spirits ; 



252 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

she kept close to her uncle, and talked but 
little. About three- parts of the way to the 
farm they had to pass along the ridge of a 
deep chalk-pit. Their path crossed a small 
open space between the hanging wood and 
the edge of the precipice, which might be 
sixty feet deep. There was a rustic seat 
under a large beech-tree, and it commanded 
a beautiful view over the tops of the trees 
at the base of the hill below the chalk-pit, 
and far off to the blue horizon, with the 
tower of Raymond Castle and the grey 
front of Nutley Hall, in the middle dis- 
tance. The leaves had not all fallen ; and 
the tawny beech, the bright-yellow ash, and 
blue-green oak, still in their autumn beauty 
though now but thinly clad, made a fair 
picture in the white December sunshine. 
When they reached this spot Rose stopped, 
and saying she was tired, begged they 
would leave her to rest on the bench in the 
sunshine, until they returned. This was 
agreed to, and they walked on. 

Teresa took Rose's place by her father s 



I AVILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 253 

side, and Robert lagged behind. Witli the 
cane in his hand he kept knocking off the 
stiff heads of the purple knapweed, the last 
floral gift of autumn in our hedges and 
woodlands that so bravely stands the early 
frosts ; regardless of the winning beauty of 
nature all around him, or of aught indeed, 
save his own dark thoughts. He had been 
vexed and annoyed at having to join the 
others in their walk, and from being first 
made irritable by it, the evil spirit within 
him had been working him up into a state 
of savage rage. Yielding to his own bad im- 
pressions, he had grown to consider himself 
an ill-used and defrauded man. Eose's 
beauty stood between him and his rest; 
and yet he hated her for it. And her 
existence stood between him and enormous 
wealth, and this maddened him. It seemed 
like a cruel wrong done to him that this 
young girl so indifferent to him, so exaspe- 
ratingly cold and yet so lovely, should have 
it thus in her power to go on being alive, 
and trampling the joy out of his heart, and 



254 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

putting her coveted wealth out of his reach 
by the simple fact that she would not marry 
him, and that her independent existence 
was his bane. He had glanced back as 
they turned again into the wood from 
the open space where they had left her. 
There she stood, close to the edge of the 
chalk-pit. Her dress, looped up for walk- 
ing, revealed the tiny, well-rounded ankle, 
and the neat but strong '^ highlows " with 
gold buckles, that cased a little foot with an 
instep arched like a sylph's. A dark cloth 
coat edged with fur, and open at the front, 
but fitting tight to the waist and shoulders, 
left the outline of her beautiful figure clear 
against the sky. And beneath the broad 
brim of her black beaver hat, with its nod- 
ding plume of blue feathers, he saw the sun- 
light falling full on the rich curls and 
cushioned coils of that bewildering golden 
hair. One glove was off, and the little 
white hand shone like a bit of pearl. And 
so he sauntered on behind them, thinking. 
His thoughts worked with a wonderful 



I WILL REPAY^ SAITH THE LORD." 255 

rapidity, and through them all, as if he 
were still looking at her, stood Rose in her 
beauty, alone by the edge of the chalk-pit. 

So rapidly came the thoughts that it 
seemed to him as if another were there 
suggesting them, and whispering them in 
his ear — " Go back and speak to her, and 
have an end to this misery. She must have 
you — she shall have you — and if not, let her 
die. Why should she live to flout you, and be 
your curse ? What right has she to stand 
in your path and be your ruin ?" On — on, 
the thoughts came — faster — louder. And 
he turned. 

The sweat stood on his brow with the 
agony of that inner temptation ; but the 
heart-sickness passed off and gave place to 
resolve as soon as he obeyed the suggestion 
and turned to rejoin Rose. 

She was still on the brink of the chalk- 
pit. 

He advanced rapidly, and stood so as to 
place her between the edge of the precipice 
and himself. 



256 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

Eose started when she saw him, and 
turned pale. But there was no escape. He 
told her tliat he had come for the last time, 
to renew liis suit. And as his mad words 
fell on her ears Eose wondered whether it 
were not a maniac that stood hefore her, 
rather than a man moved by an honourable 
affection. His face was convulsed with 
passion, and his words conveyed to her 
mind the violence of lust, but certainly not 
the tenderness of love ; while through the 
whole there was an undisguised greed for 
her possessions, amounting to a hatred of 
herself for keeping them back from him. 

Finding she made no reply, he suddenly 
seized her arm, and with a violent and 
awful oath, pushed her to the brink of 
the pit. Eose uttered a scream. At that 
moment there was a rustling sound in the 
bushes close to wliere they stood — some 
one was approaching. Eobert released the 
frightened girl as the noise startled him, 
and darting into the copse the opposite 
side from whence the alarm came, he fled 



I TTILL REPATy SAITH THE LORD." 257 

down a narrow path. In a second she saw 
him again hy the side of the pit near 1^ 
bottonu He leaped down, and da«hing; off 
into ihe thi<^ wood at Ae base was lost to 
aglit. Bose^ pale and tzembling, tamed 
Toond to see who was her deHTezer. A 
few poor sheep had broken bounds and 
stzajed into the wood in seardi of firedier 
pastnre ; and haTing foond what they 
wanted, were soon qnietly grazing in llie 
(^n space wiiere she stood! The noise 
•bej had made in poshing throogh the 
miderwood had startled Bobert, and to this 
dight incident Ae owed her preBerratum. 

She sank on Ae gioond with mingle 
feelii^ of horror, terror, and giatitode to 
heaTen far her escape. She had Terj litde 
doobi of what the wretched man's inten- 
ticHis had been, and Ae czawkd on her 
hands and knees away from itte edge di ibe 
chalk difl^ OTer whose dizzy heig^ t^e no 
longer dared to look. By degrees she 
grew calmer — more aaeiired of her pr es ent 
sa&ty, and better able to fiioe her Jiode and 

TOL. n. 8 



258 '* VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

cousin, whose return she every moment ex- 
pected. 

She had hardly stilled her beating heart, 
and taught her trembling limbs to be firm, 
when she heard the welcome voices of 
Teresa and Lord Clifford approaching. 
They hoped she had not thought them 
very long. Robert had got tired of their 
company and gone home some other way. 
Had she seen him pass? Lord Clifford 
made some condemnatory remark about the 
straggling sheep and the shepherd's care- 
lessness ; and all continued their walk 
home, Rose gladly accepting tlie support of 
her uncle's arm. 

Retired in her own room, Rose Clifford 
reflected on the events of the day. She 
felt at last entirely released from her pro- 
mise of silence, and resolved upon speak- 
ing to Lord Clifford of the persecution she 
was enduring. This, however, could not 
be done till his return. Robert also was 
absent ; and while he was not at the castle 
she had nothing to complain of. But at 



I WtLL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 259 

least she would speak to Father Netherby, 
and would tell him openly of her attachment 
to Andrea Orsini, and of their early mutual 
engagement, which in the young girl's 
eyes was still very sacred, and ask him 
if he could not communicate with the 
Princess Orsini, and let her become aware 
of the dangers her intended daughter-in- 
law was running. 

Having calmed her terror by this resolve, 
she rejoined Teresa, and beyond looking 
very pale, showed no traces of what she 
had gone through. She saw no more of 
Robert. He kept out of the way, and left 
word that he should walk down the park 
and join his father and the carriage at the 
lodge-gate. So she was spared the awk- 
wardness of leave-taking. 

The next morning Father Netherby came 
to say mass at the castle, and Rose sent 
him word she wished to speak with him in 
private. Much to her annoyance he re- 
turned for answer he could place himself at 
her disposition for a few moments only. 



260 "vengeance is mine; 

He was summoned to London by the Yicar 
Apostolic, and having to walk to Blackdean 
to meet the coach had but little time to 
spare. 

She found it very difficult to enter fully 
on the question in so limited a space, for 
she was bashful and timid about it. With- 
out exactly telling the father all that had 
taken place she gave him to understand 
that she thought her life in peril, and that 
she needed protection. 

Father Netherby was greatly shocked, 
and very much distressed at having to 
leave her just then. However, the absence 
of Robert from the castle was a guarantee 
for her present safety ; and either he himself 
or she must speak to Lord Clifford on his 
return, and beg him to protect her from his 
son's insolence. Meanwhile, he warmly 
embraced the notion of writing to the 
Orsinis, and promised to do so without 
loss of time. She consulted him as to 
whether she might tell Teresa of her senti- 
ments about her brother, and he encouraged 



I ^VILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 261 

her to do everything that would relieve 
her justly alarmed feelings and increase 
her security. He did not know how long 
he should be detained in London ; but he 
left her his address, in case of anything un- 
expected occurring, and added that a Capu- 
chin was coming that day to Nutley to un- 
dertake his duties during his absence. 

It was a happy time, that period between 
a fortnight and three weeks, that the two 
cousins spent alone together in the old 
castle. Madame de Bray was still with 
her friends in Paris, and was not to return 
till a day or two before Christmas, and 
after her arrival they were expecting a 
house full of guests, and some gaieties at 
the castle to introduce Rose to the county 
neighbours before taking her and Teresa to 
London. 

Neither of the girls had at all set their 
hearts upon all that was intended for their 
amusement. Rose's thoughts had more 
than ever gone after her young Italian 
admirer, since she had seen what passion 



262 "vengeance is mine: 



might be in its worst shape^ and had been 
taught by it to wish for the lawful protec- 
tion of the man she loved. 

Teresa had trained herself too long for 
the high mission of her home life to have 
much care for worldly gaieties. But Lord 
Clifford thought it was right and fitting, 
and as he perceived Eobert made no way 
with Eose, and consequently had but little 
hope of ever seeing her married to his son, 
he felt it an obligation to give her a further 
opportunity of choosing for herself else- 
where. As for Teresa^ he knew she had 
only to hold up her little finger to bring 
Cecil Eedcliffe to her feet ; and he could 
not desire a more advantageous marriage 
for his daughter than that, which had also 
the additional advantage of keeping her 
near him. 

Eose's spirits rose immensely at the feel- 
ing of freedom and security that filled her 
heart when Eobert was gone^ and when 
her conversation with Father Netherby had 
given her full liberty to think of Andrea, 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 263 

and even to expect him in England. She 
told something of her troubles to Teresa ; 
but did not like to dwell much upon 
Robert's conduct for fear of distressing her 
about her brother. Besides which, when 
he was once out of the house she was too 
completely happy to allow the recollection 
of the past to come between her and her 
present security. tSo the girls read and 
talked and sang together, and together 
they prayed. Rose would laughingly tell 
Teresa she believed she was makinof a sort 
of retreat in preparation for some great 
event, when she found her cousin more 
than usually preoccupied with her pious 
practices. 

" She supposed," she said, " the Capu- 
chin father had come on purpose to prepare 
her." 

But as the retreat, if such it were, made 
no difference in Teresa's cheerful compan- 
ionship, Rose was quite satisfied it should 
be as it was ; and so the time sped only too 
rapidly. 



264 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

Winter had come down upon them in 
sudden good earnest. A few wild bluster- 
ing nights despoiled the forest of its garb 
of brown and gold, and left the shivering 
branches bare. And then silently but 
swiftly, the white pall was spread over the 
dead face of nature ; and Eose and Teresa 
awoke one morning to find the world 
wrapped in snow. 

The " Hammer Ponds," is the name of a 
whitewashed, bleak, road-side inn, on the 
borders of a wide heath in the neighbour- 
ing county to that where stands Raymond 
Castle. Robert had been in the habit of 
going there to shoot for a short time, 
during most of the winters he had spent 
in England. He was therefore well-known 
at the place, and as he paid high for his 
accommodation no difficulty was made as 
to giving up a kitchen for Yincenzo's use ; 
who versed in French and Italian cookery, 
provided his master with something better 
than bacon and eggs, the staple commodity 
of the '* Hammer Ponds' " hospitality. 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 265 

Long walks over moor and fen; long 
dreamy evenings over a large, noiseless, 
uncompanionable peat fire, afforded a com- 
bination which but too well suited the 
sinister thoughts of the unhappy Eobert. 
He was resolved to rid himself of the 
haunting beauty of Rose. He was resolved 
to possess himself without her of the pos- 
sessions she would not bestow upon him ; 
and bending all the subtle intelligence 
of his educated mind to study and plan 
the possibilities, he gave himself up to 
the thought until he had matured it. 
At first he had intended taking Yincenzo 
into his confidence, and so getting him 
to be his accomplice ; but the fellow's 
present discontented frame of mind gave 
him a feeling of distrust. He had ob- 
tained from Yincenzo all the hints he 
required — even how to fabricate a white 
plaster with the adhesive qualities of pitch ; 
and not wishing to have him as an accom- 
plice, it struck him forcibly that he would 
be a thousand times more useful to him if 



266 *^ VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

he could manage to make him appear the 
guilty party, and so shelter himself. The 
statement about the diamonds in the top- 
drawer, and the missing key, had not been 
lost upon Eoger, either at the time or since. 
He resolved to possess himself of those dia- 
monds, or of a portion of them. They were 
to be Yincenzo's reward for " long services 
and inviolable fidelity." They were not to 
be his until the very moment he was to leave 
the house. And as at the same time he re- 
solved to sacrifice the fair girl whom he 
had once loved and now hated with a 
savage hate, he argued that Yincenzo 
would be suspected of the murder as well 
as of the abstraction of the diamonds. 

Yincenzo had made up his mind to go, 
and as soon as he saw he could do so 
advantageously he was sure to be in haste 
to leave. For in truth what affections or 
ties could a man like him have to endear 
any persons to him, or any place, except 
where his interests were concerned ? 

Upon his return to Eaymond Castle, 



I TTILL REPAY, SATTH THE LORD." 267 

Eobert kept altogether away from the ladies. 
He generally dined out with one of the 
yoimg bachelor squires of the neighbour- 
hood, whose small estate lay opposite the 
park-gates. When he did not, upon some 
pretence or other he dined in his own 
den. 

Yincenzo had been sent straight from 
the Hammer Ponds to London to transact 
some business for Robert, and with orders 
not to return to the castle until he was 
sent for. 

Father Netherby was still absent; and 
not having him to consult, and finding 
everything so apparently settled and secure. 
Rose hesitated as to the advisability of 
breaking-up the present peace by a dis- 
closure of the past to Lord Clifford. 

Meanwhile, Robert had written to Yin- 
cenzo that everything was prospering to 
his mind, that he wished Yincenzo to come 
down on the 22nd, and to leave on the 
evening of the 23rd, because a certain ship 
was to sail at a time convenient for Yin- 



268 "vENaEANCE IS mine; 

cenzo's reaching the coast on the 24th. 
As soon as Yincenzo arrived, he went to 
the den to see his young master and to 
take his orders. Robert received him with 
warmth and marked kindness. Yincenzo 
detected a shght agitation in his manner, 
but that, perhaps, was not unnatural under 
the circumstances of his engagement to 
Rose being still a profound secret. 

Robert immediately opened his heart to 
the faithful servant, the friend of his child- 
hood as he did not hesitate to call him. 
He told him that Rose and he had decided 
upon keeping entirely aloof from each other 
until they could decide upon a fitting time 
for declaring their mutual attachment. He 
alleged that his feelings for Rose were of 
too ardent a nature for him not to run great 
risk of betraying himself were he seen in 
her society. And he added, that both of 
them being convinced the "' pious Lord 
Clifford" would demur about the relation- 
ship. Rose wished to have some advice from 
the higher spiritual powers confirmatory 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 269 

of their hopes for a dispensation, before 
broaching the subject to him. The pro- 
bability, he added, was that he should go 
himself to London to consult the Yicar 
Apostolic. 

Yincenzo could not resist bantering his 
young master a little at this sudden change 
in the purport of his discourse; and at 
the virtuous and pious tone assumed of an 
honest attachment, obedience to the Church, 
and interviews with ecclesiastics ! 

The banter was of use to Eobert, as it 
made it easier for him to act out his part. 
He then came round to the present to be 
made to Yincenzo before leaving. And here, 
he said, he had been beset by difficulties? 
till at last, he added with an expression of 
candid satisfaction, he had hit upon a plan 
which though rather awkward to execute, 
would cover all the difficulty. He said he 
had found his father quite unapproachable 
on the subject (here Yincenzo ground his 
teeth, and muttered something under his 
breath), and that being anxious on his own 



270 ''VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

account not to offend him just then, he had 
not hked to press the subject. 

" I myself, as you well know, Yincenzo," 
continued the young man, " am not only 
hard-up for ready money but deeply in 
debt, a condition from which nothing but 
my marriage can release me : and though 
in a short time I shall be master of all she 
possesses, yet I am sure you will understand 
my being loth to call upon my future wife 
for a large sum of money to pay off an old 
servant of my father's. However, 1 have 
hit upon a plan by which, if it does not 
shock your squeamishness, will overcome 
all difficulties, and put it in my power 
to repay you as I would wish. You are 
aware that Miss Clifford has magnificent 
diamonds. I happen to know that she keeps 
them in a drawer, of which sometime ago 
she had lost the key. Now, I might, of 
course, ask her to let me have a small set 
out of the many she has. But that would 
be a thousand times worse than asking for 
money. It would have a bad appearance ; 



I AVILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 271 

and women are apt to set a higher vakie 
on their jewels than on aught else. But as 
I know in a very short time all she has 
will be mine, I am ready to run the risk of 
appropriating some of them to my own use 
for your benefit." 

"But what will Miss Rose say," inter- 
rupted Yincenzo, " when she finds it out ?" 

" Tut, man," replied Robert, with im- 
patience, " do you suppose she will quarrel 
with me for a few diamonds ? He must be 
a pretty sort of lover indeed, who cannot 
stop the girl he is going to marry from 
crying over a few lost stones. Leave all 
that- to me." 

" Certainly, sir," said Yincenzo, " it is no 
business of mine." 

" But now," added Robert, " it is neces- 
sary that I should have your assistance for 
one part of the transaction. I cannot get 
the jewels to-night, because you know she 
might take it into her head to wear some of 
them in the evening — a brooch or something 
— or she might require some other article 



272 "VEISTGEANCE IS MINE; 

out of the same drawer in whicli she keeps 
them, and then she or her maid would find 
it out if some were missing, too soon to suit 
our purpose. I shall endeavour to-morrow 
evening, while the servants are all down at 
supper, and the girls are with my father in 
the drawing-room, to slip into Eose's bed- 
room and try whether the drawer is still 
unlocked. If it is, all well and good. If 
not, we shall require to pick the lock. But 
whether or no, it is important that Miss 
Rose should sleep very sound that night ; 
and as my sister sleeps in the adjoining 
room, and I believe the girls are apt to 
have the door open communicating with 
each other's apartments, it is as well that 
her sleep also should be particularly sound. 
Now, Yincenzo, I come to the point — to 
the only thing you will be required to do 
before you can be put in possession of 
the prize I destine for you. You will 
serve the coffee in the drawing-room to- 
morrow night, and you will take care that 
both the young ladies' cups are drugged." 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD/' 273 

A curious expression passed over Yin- 
cenzo's face. He was thinking of his story 
of the man at Padua. 

" Then," continued Robert, without wait- 
ing for a reply, " when we have given them 
time to fall asleep, you and I will creep to 
Rose's door. You will wait outside. I 
will go in and bring out the particular case 
of diamonds I intend you to have." (Reader, 
they were not the Clifford diamonds, but 
those that her mother had received from 
the Orsinis.) You can have my grey horse 
ready saddled, and it will be your own fault 
if you are not out of the country before 
even Rose has found out the little pre- 
instalment I have made upon what will 
one day be all my own. As a reason for 
your going at so late an hour, the servants 
have a little merry-making to-morrow night, 
and you very naturally linger to the last 
moment; as you know the ship does not 
sail till the next morning, and you only 
want to arrive just in time to go on board." 

On the whole, Yincenzo saw no reason 

VOL. II. T 



274 *^ VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

why he should oppose the plan. He did 
not disbelieve Robert's story of his secret 
engagement with his cousin. There was a 
great air of probability about it, and to a 
coarse mind like Yincenzo's there was 
nothing overstrained in Rose's having be- 
gun by refusing and avoiding him, and 
finally allowing herself to be won over by 
the persevering addresses of so handsome a 
youth as Robert Clifford. Money was his 
object, and that he secured; and after all, 
whatever might happen to Mr. Clifford, he 
would be safe out of the country before any- 
thing serious could occur to complicate his 
own position. So after a little further dis- 
cussion about the details, what was to be 
done with the horse, and how it was to be 
got back to the castle, the bargain was 
struck, and each promised to stand well to 
his part. 

And thus the younger and educated 
rascal outwitted the older ,|aian^ as he had 
already done his own father. Robert's 
fei)irits rose to a fiendish height when he 



I WILL KEPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 275 

thus saw his way clear before him. Or 
perhaps it was that having such far darker 
and more dreadful intentions in his owq 
mind than simply to possess himself of the 
diamonds for Yincenzo's benefit, he could 
only bear up against the horrors of his con- 
science by affecting a mad hilarity. The 
whole of the next day he wore a different 
aspect. He scarcely spoke to any one. He 
lurked about the place like an evil spirit. He 
seemed absorbed in concentrated thought, 
He drank, but he hardly tasted food, and 
he avoided meeting his father, or Teresa, or 
Rose the whole day. 

Far differently had the day been passed 
by the two innocent girls. It had been 
what Teresa called a comjylete day, beginning 
with early mass in the house, and going 
through a regular, unbroken course of 
home duties, home affections, and peaceful 
thoughts. Never had Teresa seemed more 
radiant. She ''was in health and in spirits. 
She had had*" some conversation with her 
father which l4ad particularly cheered her^ 



276 *' VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

and seemed to her more than a sufficient 
reward for the Hfe of devotion to him she 
had endeavoured to lead. Yes, Lord CHflford 
was a greatly altered man ; but she wondered 
whether he would ever be less melancholy, 
or whether those terrible fits of gloom, so 
sad to witness, would follow him to the 
grave. Even this, she hoped might in 
time give place to more even spirits. She 
had witnessed a change so immense that 
she would despair of nothing. The know- 
ledge that Yincenzo was about to depart 
was another welcome drop in the cup of 
gladness that heaven seemed to have put 
into her hand on that 23rd of December. 
Madame de Bray was expected home the 
next day, and that was an additional cause 
for joy. 

In the evening the girls sat with Lord 
Clifford., Robert, as usual, was absent, 
whether in his own den or dining out no 
one knew. Lord Clifford liked Rose and 
Teresa to play and sing of an evening 
while he was reading. Teresa had a rich 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 277 

contralto voice, and Rose's was clear and 
sweet as a bird's. 

At half-past eight a servant came into 
the room, and said one of the school- 
children had been sent up by Father 
Netherby and wanted to speak to Miss 
Clifford. Eose left the room. The child 
had brought her a note, which he said he 
was desired to give into her own hands. It 
ran thus : 

" Dear Daughter, 

" I have just returned home. The good 
Capuchin tells me that all your honourable 
family are in good health. I think Miss Rose 
will rest more contented this night when 
she hears that I have not come back alone. 
The letter I wrote some weeks ago has had 
the effect of bringing over a certain young 
gentleman. He joined me in London, and 
nothing would serve him but to come to 
my house. Sleep in peace, my child, and 
to-morrow I will see his lordship and ex- 
plain all, and then, no doubt, the Prince 0. 



278 "VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

may come to the castle and pay his respects. 
Leave all in the hands of God, and may he 
have you in his holy keeping. 

" Your faithful servant to command, 

" Fr. Netherby, S.J." 

No words could tell the joy and happi- 
ness of Rose Clifford. She beckoned her 
cousin out of the room, while her uncle 
remained absorbed in his book. Teresa 
was hardly less rejoiced than Rose herself, 
and after exhausting their delight in mutual 
congratulations, they returned to the draw- 
ing-room and rang for coffee. Each girl 
took a cup, but Rose left hers untasted. 
She went back to the piano, and gave vent 
to her happiness in singing with all her 
heart and soul, as though she were inspired. 
Lord Clifford looked up with a smile, and 
said : 

" Well done, my dear Rose ; you are in 
wonderful voice to-nia-ht." 

" Rose," said Teresa^ " are you going to 
drink your coffee ?" 



I WILL REPAY SAITH THE LORD/' 279 

" No, thank you; I do not want it." 
" Then I shall drink it. I cannot think 
why I am so thirsty to-night." 

And so Teresa drank the two drugged 
cups of coffee. At about a quarter to eleven 
the girls retired to rest. Their rooms 
opened into each other with double doors, 
and in the thickness of the wall, which was 
about four feet, there was a very large, 
deep closet, in which they hung their 
dresses. The door of the closet opened at 
right angles with the door of Rose's room, 
so that any one standing in the closet 
could, had he tried, seen much of what 
was passing in the room through the slit of 
light between the door-post and the door 
itself, when the latter stood ajar. Rose was 
in a state of great excitement. She said 
she did not feel the least sleepy, and wanted 
Teresa to sit up with her, but Teresa com- 
plained of being unusually tired, and could 
hardly keep her eyes open, or answer Rose's 
rhapsodies of delight. She was undressing 
in her own room when Rose came in to beg 



280 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

as she could not sit up to talk to her, she 
would at least sleep with her. Teresa's 
was the inner room of the two, and in one 
angle of the room was a small door, which 
led to a turret staircase that communi- 
cated with the ground-floor of the house. 
Eose's room opened into a large passage, 
that branched into the main upstairs gal- 
lery of the house, which led to the great 
oak staircase. Teresa consented to Eose's 
request. They knelt together to say their 
prayers, then embracing like sisters^ Teresa 
lay down in Eose's bed, and was almost 
instantly asleep. It was a large bed, hung 
with blue damask, and the curtains were par- 
tially drawn. It was not the first time that 
the excitable Eose had persuaded Teresa to 
stop the night with her, for she said she 
always slept calmer when her good cousin 
was near her. This night there seemed no 
sleep likely to visit Eose's bright eyes. She 
stirred up the fire and made a good blaze, 
and having partly undressed, put on a warm 
dressing-gown, thrust her naked feet into 



I T\'ILL REPAY^ SAITH THE LORD." 281 

Eussian embroidered slippers edged with 
fur, and sat down to think and dream, and 
ponder over the dehghtful fact that Andrea, 
her own beloved Andrea, was so near, and 
that to-morrow she should see him. 

It was a cold, still night ; there was no 
wind, and the snow lay thick on the ground. 
After sitting some time she began to feel 
chilly, and opened the door leading to 
Teresa's room to take a cloak with a hood 
to it that hung in the closet. She had not 
lighted the candle, as the fire gave light 
enough, and when she went to fetch the 
cloak she left the door of her room a little 
ajar, that she might distinguish the cloak 
she wanted. It was however nearly at the 
end of the closet in the dark, but she knew 
it from the fact that it was edged with fur. 
She put it on in the closet, and was just on 
the point of stepping out when she heard the 
door of her room leading into the passage 
opened softly. She stood transfixed with 
horror, as standing herself in deep shadow 
she perceived by the light of the fire the 



282 "vengeance is mij^e; 

figure of Robert Clifford enter her bedroom, 
and Yincenzo in the passage outside. The 
scene by the chalk-pit rushed back upon 
her memory, and some of the dark threats 
he had then uttered, and she said inwardly, 
" He is come to murder me, or worse." She 
expected to see him draw the curtain of her 
bed, and looked for the knife in his hand. 
Would he recognize Teresa? Yes, there 
was light enough for that. But not finding 
her in bed, would he search the room for 
her, and murder her where she stood ? To 
her astonishment, as she watched his move- 
ments through the slit, it was not the bed 
he approached but the chest of drawers, 
where she kept the diamonds. She recol- 
lected then her uncle's injunction to replace 
the lost key, but it had never been done 
(and that, Robert had ascertained when he, 
as had been arranged, got into her room for 
one second while the servants were at sup- 
per). She saw him open the drawer very 
noiselessly and abstract one of the jewel 
cases. It was her mother's. He turned to 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 283 

the door, and Yincenzo advanced a step. 
As he walked to the door his profile was 
before her. His hair was dishevelled, his 
face ghastly. It was the last sight she ever 
had of Eobert Clifford, and though she did 
not reason upon his appearance then, it was 
a sight never to be forgotten. All this time 
(and it took less time to happen than it does 
to tell) she was rapidly calculating her 
chances of escape, for she was quite per- 
suaded Robert Clifford was not going to 
content himself with a small case of dia- 
monds, though they might be valued at two 
thousand pounds. When he stood at the 
open door speaking to Yincenzo, his back 
was turned to her. Quick as thought she 
gently turned the handle of the door lead- 
ing into Teresa's room, shot across it, and 
vanished through the door leading to the 
turret staircase. Her dress made no noise, 
as it was all of woollen material, trimmed 
with soft fur. When she got upon the 
landing outside the door at the top of the 
narrow winding stairs, she paused for a mo- 



284 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

ment to reflect how slie should get safe out 
of the house. Of course all the doors were 
locked ; and even could she have hoped to 
run down the long gallery without being 
seen by Yincenzo, or by her intending mur- 
derer, who, not finding her, would in ano- 
ther moment be descending the oak stairs, 
she felt uncertain of being able to undo the 
lock, and alarmed at the thought of the 
noise it would make. Still her only idea 
of safety was to leave the house. Horror 
as well as panic had seized her, and she 
only wanted to be away and free, no matter 
how. She recollected with the vivid ra- 
pidity of thought in moments of great ex- 
citement, that in her early walk that day 
with Teresa, when they were returning 
from the ponds where a number of children 
were sliding, they had noticed that one of 
the iron bars outside a comparatively low 
window in the banqueting-hall had got 
loose and fallen out. They had intended 
speaking to Lord Clifford about it, but it 
was probably not yet repaired. She deter- 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD. 28d 

mined to make for that window. Not daring 
to go through the servants' offices, when 
she reached the foot of the turret stairs she 
made her way through the suite of sitting- 
rooms in that wing of the castle. Then she 
would have, from the door of her uncle's 
present study, only just to cross the long 
gallery and enter the banquetiug-hall. It 
had one door communicating with the gal- 
lery, the door by which she entered, two 
large folding- doors opening into one of the 
sitting-rooms to the right as she entered, 
and a small low Gothic door opening on to 
the terrace, and from that on to the park. 
She turned the key of the door by which 
she had entered, and that of the folding- 
doors, and then feeling herself in compara- 
tive safety, began to investigate her further 
means of escape. The low Gothic door was 
locked, and the key taken away. The iron 
bar had not been replaced in the window, 
and by that she would escape. It was too 
high to reach from the ground, being about 
eight feet. She pushed a table under the 



286 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

window, opened the latticed pane where the 
outside iron bar was missing, and with some 
difficulty forced herself through, and cling- 
ing with her poor little chafed fingers to 
the leaden moulding of the lattice-frame, 
let herself down on the ground — alone, at 
midnight, in a vast plain of snow ! 

The miserable Robert had not heard the 
light footstep of his intended victim. Yin- 
cenzo had received the casket of jewels, and 
Robert, bidding him make haste to mount his 
horse, had re-entered the room. He listened 
for the breathing of the quiet sleeper, but 
heard nothing. " She sleeps soundly," 
thought he. He hoped there would be no 
struggle. How should he bear to see the 
beautiful girl he had loved, and whom now 
he hated, still calling it love, battling with 
him for the dear life ! "If she wakes I will 
tell her that since she will not love me, she 
shall love no other man." 

And so he nerved himself, and drew aside 
the curtain, holding ready in his hand bis 
horrid contrivance for suffocating her sweet 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 287 

breath, and " Burking" her as it was called 
in more recent times. But when his eyes 
fell upon the sleeping form before him he 
started back, and forgetful of danger, 
hoarsely articulated Teresa's name. She 
stirred not. For a moment he thought his 
excited senses had deceived him : but no, it 
was Teresa's dark tresses that fell on the 
white pillow; it was the classic outline of 
Teresa's saint-like face, and not the golden 
locks of Rose, and her budding, cherub 
loveliness. 

He staggered from the bed, and the cur- 
tain fell again before the motionless sleeper. 
Scarcely caring for detection now, and 
maddened by the sudden shock of having 
missed his victim, he hunted in the other 
room, even in the closet where Rose had 
stood concealed. In vain. The bird had 
flown. Her '^ soul had been delivered as a 
sparrow out of the snare of the fowler." 
He clenched his fist and cursed aloud as he 
closed the door and walked down the pas- 
sage. When he got down-stairs he heard 



288 "vengeance is mine; 

the feet of Yincenzo's horse riding rapidly 
away, and with rage and terror in his heart 
he returned to his own room. His fears 
were divided into many channels. " When 
had Eose made her escape ? Had she seen 
him enter her room, and would she betray 
him ? Or had she gone off before ? Per- 
haps after all she was still in the house. 
But anyhow he dared not look for her, and 
so could know nothing till morning. 

Swift as a deer across the snow, Eose fled 
for her life. She took the direction of 
Nutley, for it was at the Chapel House she 
meant to take refuge. Father Netherby 
was there; dear old nurse Dorothy was 
there — and one other ; one who would soon 
have a right to protect her. As she fled 
along the turf she heard the sound of a horse 
trotting fast down the road. She thought 
she was being pursued. At that moment 
she neared the small circular pond, with 
the island overgrown with bushes in the 
centre. It was covered with ice ; but she 
knew it would bear her weight, for she had 



I ^VILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 289 

seen the cliildren sliding on it. She made 
her way across the ice on her hands and 
knees, and climbing the low bank of the 
miniature island, crouched down among the 
willows. Still she heard the horse's hoofs 
falling with a muffled sound upon the snow. 
She remembered the legend she had heard 
in her childhood of the Bucklyn Shaig. It 
must be the fiend, riding late that night ! 
She remembered little Andrea, sitting with 
his arm round her in the char-a-banc as 
thej had passed by that island that bright 
summer day, many years ago. Ah, why 
was he then so near, and yet so far, in her 
hour of need ! On came the rider. Her 
heart stopped with superstitious terror, for 
her nerves and courage were nearly spent. 
The man on horseback passed at full trot, 
not twentv yards from where she was 
hiding among the branches. She caught 
sight of his face in the moonlight ; it was 
evil enough to be that of a fiend, but she 
saw that it was Yincenzo, riding away with 
the casket of jewels. 

VOL. II. TT 



290 ^* VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

Relieved and reassured, she waited till he 
was well out of sight, then emerging from 
her hiding-place, she continued her course 
to the Chapel House. When she reached it 
the sense of her position rushed full upon 
her consciousness, and she would have given 
worlds to have found some other secure 
refuge than the house where Andrea was 
sleeping. How dreadful it would be if, 
roused by her knocking and ringing, he 
were to come forth and see her in that 
plight ! What would he think ? For a 
moment she almost wished he w^ere not there. 
And yet, no ; he would only have to hear 
her story to understand why she had come ; 
and then it would be so delightful to have 
him near her. Still had it been possible she 
would gladly have waited till it was nearer 
day. She could not tell, but she supposed 
it might be barely two o'clock in the morn- 
ing. The cold was intense ; she had no 
stockings on ; and though she had drawn 
the hood of her cloak over her head, she 
was not half enough clothed for such bitter 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 291 

weather. The snow tempted her to sit 
down and sleep, but she knew how dan- 
gerous that was, and, trembling in every 
limb, she pushed open the wicket gate and 
standing beneath the simple wooden porch 
of the Chapel House, knocked violently. 

It was so long before she could make any 
one hear, that 'she began to fear that her 
courage was forsaking her, and that she 
should die there on the threshold. , At 
length it was obvious that her repeated 
knocking had roused the inmates. The door 
slowly opened, she thought she saw Father 
Netherby standing on the stairs, with a light 
in his hand ; she thought she saw another 
face much younger looking over his shoulder. 
Anyhow, she gave an inarticulate sob, and 
fell fainting into the arms of good Mrs. 
Dorothy. 

In the church of Saint Cecilia, in Rome, 
is an exquisitely touching statue of the 
Saint as she was found when her cruel 
murderers left her. The little .figure lies as 



292 ''VENGEANCE IS MINE; 

it fell — lifeless on the marble pavement: 
the supple limbs are slightly drawn up, and 
the palms of her delicate hands joined as in 
prayer, with the arms stretched down^ rest 
close to the partially bended knees. The 
face is turned to the ground, so that only 
a part of the profile is visible ; and the thick 
coil of hair has loosened on the crown of 
her graceful head. It was in an attitude 
like this they found Teresa, when the morn- 
ing came and the wail of death went through 
the house. Had she not said she would 
gladly give her life for the happiness of 
another ? And this unconsciously, she had 
done. The family physician was sent for ; 
but she had been dead many hours. The 
doctor said she had died of the hereditary 
disease ; he had always apprehended it 
would be so from the day he had been 
called in when Teresa had heard of her 
aunt's death. And so there was no coro- 
ner's inquest ; and the secret of the drugged 
coffee did not transpire. 

" Yengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 293 

the Lord." And in repaying He shows 
mercy. Roger was a broken-hearted man, 
and the ghost of Henry Bethune was 
avenged. Perhaps if he had known more 
he would have died a maniac instead of 
living a penitent. 

When Rose was sufficiently recovered, 
she was moved to Nutley Hall, with Dorothy 
and Madame de Bray, who arrived the very 
day she was expected, to find death and all 
but despair, where she had hoped for a bright 
and happy welcome. Teresa was the last of 
the family of Clifford who was laid in the 
family vault of Xutley. Her funeral is still 
spoken of among the peasantry that remem- 
ber to have heard of the saintly maiden, and 
who cherish her memory for her own sake, 
and for that of their parents who so loved 
and honoured her, and taught their children 
to do the same. It was attended by all the 
country round. A sudden instinct seemed 
to tell the hearts of all that a saint had gone 
to heaven. 

Robert was not present. 



294 " VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

Yery soon after, Rose was married quite 
privately in the family chapel of Nutley 
Hall, and immediately went back to Italy 
with her husband. 

Madame de Bray visited them later, and 
in due time helped to educate the younger 
princes and princesses Orsini. 

Rose told Andrea but she never told her 
uncle of the stolen diamonds. 

The vessel in which Yincenzo sailed for 
Genoa was wrecked in the Gulf of Spezzia, 
and Yincenzo was drowned. He had taken 
the diamonds out of their setting, and had 
sewn them in a leathern belt. As the 
wretched man sank into the sea, the belt 
burst, and for a second the unconscious 
ocean was flashed with a shower of bright 
jewels, like a flight of fire-flies upon its 
bosom ; and so he and his ill-gotten gains 
perished together. 

Roger might be seen about the house and 
grounds occasionally, for some few weeks 
after ; Father Netherby was often there, but 
no one so often as Cecil Redclifife. He 



SAITH THE LORD." 295 

followed the unhappy man like his shadow, 
and could hardly be persuaded to remain 
behind when Lord Clifford, after settling all 
his affairs and leaving them in good hands, 
left England never to return. But Cecil 
Redcliffe was born to be an English country 
gentleman, and not a hero. He married 
late in life, but he did marry — a woman to 
whom he could talk of his first love, and 
who consented to call their eldest girl Teresa. 

Yery few persons ever saw Roger again. 
Sometimes, for a brief space, when com- 
pelled to do so by reasons connected with 
family affairs, he would suddenly appear ; 
but it was a mystery where he sprang 
from, and whither he vanished. 

One day, about fifteen years after the 
marriage of Eose, the founder of the order 
of the Passionists, Blessed Paul of the Cross, 
called at the palace of the Prince Orsini, 
Rose's father-in-law, in Rome, and asked to 
see the prince. When his name was an- 
nounced, the prince marvelled a little what 
could have procured him the pleasure of 



296 "vengeance is mine; 

receiving a man already so honoured for his 
sanctity, and desired him to be shown at 
once into his presence. The Blessed Paul 
had come to tell the prince that in their 
monastery of Monte Cavo (built by Cardinal 
York, on the spot where had stood the 
temple of Jupiter) there was an English 
nobleman who wanted to see him. 

" You must come at once, prince," said 
the saint, " for my poor son is near death, 
and he is anxious to see you while he has 
the full use of his faculties. You know 
him," added he, " and know him well ; 
although you have never found out that he 
was spending nearly every hour of his life 
in a whitewashed cell in our house. But 
come," said he, rising with a benign smile 
as if to visit a dying man were no sad 
mission : " we have no time to lose." 

In the mists of autumn and of spring, in 
the snows of winter, and in the glaring 
sun of summer, stand the white w^alls of the 
Passionist Monastery on the extreme summit 
of Monte Cavo, — always a landmark to the 



I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 297 

traveller, always catching the eye as a 
bright point in that wide landscape, save 
when the low rolling clouds cover up half 
the mountain, and steep the good fathers in 
one of those cold fogs that add so much to 
the austerity of their life. 

The prince and the saint travelled to- 
gether over the old pagan Yia Triumphalis, 
to witness a very different triumph from 
any surmised by the gorgeous Eomans in 
their heathen pride — the triumph of contri- 
tion and Divine love ; over the once hard 
and now broken heart of a great penitent. 
Roger Clifford lay in the black habit of the 
order, on a rude, narrow bed in his cell, 
with no furniture save a couple of chairs, 
a small table, and a crucifix. His eyes 
lighted up with a look of pleasure and of 
peace, as he kissed the hand of the superior 
who entered first to announce the prince. 
He left them alone together. What tran- 
spired in that meeting, how much was 
revealed and in what way, the prince never 
divulged — and neither shall we. 



298 "vengeance is mine; 

When he came forth from the dying 
man's cell, his face betrayed the traces of 
tears. He remained some time longer with 
Blessed Paul, who told him that Lord 
Clifford had never taken vows, or been 
formally admitted to the order. His neces- 
sary duties as an English landed proprietor, 
and the melancholy circumstances con- 
nected with Robert, into whose hands it 
would not have been right to have volun- 
tarily placed the responsibility which the 
father still might fulfil, rendered his doing 
so unadvisable. '^But," added the saint, 
"he has lived here like one of us, and 
we have permitted him to wear the habit 
because it gave him greater security against 
being recognised, and few have worn it 
more worthily. He has endeared himself 
to us all by his deep humility and invari- 
able sweetness. He knows his end is near, 
and he rejoices. He will hardly last through 
the night." 

The saint spoke true. That night the 
tired spirit of Eoger was at rest. The next 



I AVILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." 299 

day his remains were laid in the burying- 
gronnd of the monastery, by the hands of 
the monks. And as with the rest of the 
dead in that silent spot, there was no record- 
ing-stone to say that Roger Baron Clifford, 
slept beneath. 

The day after his fimeral (he had parti- 
cularly begged it might not be before), 
Prince Orsini announced to all the members 
of the family, in Italy and in England, the 
death of Lord Clifford, and to such whom 
it concerned, where and how he died. 

Robert, in spite of succeeding to his 
father's title (though not to Raymond 
Castle, which was left to Rose as an act of 
reparation — Robert being so unworthy), 
lived an obscure life in Paris, where 
he embraced the principles '^ of Liberty, 
Equality, and Fraternity." He was shot 
down by one of his own party on the 
barricades of '89, whether purposely or by 
accident remains uncertain. 

Even in his case it is not past hope that 
the prayers and pious life of the sister who 



300 ^^ VENGEANCE IS MINE ; 

died through his means, were allowed to 
procure for him a better death than could 
have been anticipated. 

Father Netherby had never lost sight of 
Annette Barrow after the sad scene we 
witnessed in the fisherman's hut. Annette 
became a sister of charity — the only order 
of religious women who were permitted to 
retain any footing in Paris during the 
Eevolution. 

Robert, when wounded, was carried into 
a neighbouring house where Annette was 
living in the strictest ]3rivacy, escaping 
when she dared on her errands of mercy 
through the blood-stained streets of Paris. 
When the Englishman was brought in, his 
face suddenly recalled to Annette another 
youth who had been brought into her 
presence with a death- wound. She won- 
dered that, having seen many wounded men, 
this one alone should recall poor Jacques. 
But when she looked again she knew why ! 

She did not reveal herself to him ; and 
Robert, in the agonies of death, knew her 



I UTLL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD. dUi 

not. But Annette did for him, and that 
under far more perilous and difficult cir- 
cumstances, what she had done for Jacques. 
She procured him the presence of a priest, 
and the last sacraments. Let us hope so 
great a grace would not have been bestowed 
in vain ! 

With the death of Roger, the elder 
branch of the Clifford family became 
extinct. 

Nutley Hall and Raymond Castle have 
long since passed into other hands. The 
ChajDcl House, with its low " upper cham- 
ber," is likely to be replaced by a more 
fitting building. 

The fatal well is filled up. Nothing 
remains of the past, save the belief still 
lingering among the surrounding peasantry, 
of the old legend of the Bucklyn Shaig. 

THE END. ' 



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